Browse through digital media on any given day and you’ll see a lot of tips on “how.” How to do it, how I did it, how you should do it. There are a lot of how-to experts out there, eager to share their super-special knowledge with you.
How I Made $1,000 With One Post!
How To Be Happy in Today’s Crazy World
How I Took Over the World on a Tuesday with This One Insanely Simple Trick!
How To Write Headlines That Don’t Sound Like Cheap Listicles
Okay, So I made up that last one. Or two. When everybody takes the same marketing advice on how to become a viral blogger, everything starts to sound the same.
Here’s what I know to be true: the “how” doesn’t matter.
Some days, I don’t know how I am going to get through the next hour, let alone how to turn my dreams into solid, sustainable reality.
Often you can’t know the “how” until you actually do it. The pathway may reveal itself in in all its crystal clear glory, but often the next step will not appear until just before we need it. An unforeseen event could wipe out your perfectly laid plans and force you to change course. Your carefully built foundations might crumble. The keys to the kingdom might fall in your lap, or you might have to build the whole damn thing yourself.
“How” exists in a future you cannot see. Take comfort in this. If you are in a place where you can’t possibly see the way forward yet, congratulations! You are exactly where you need to be. Don’t worry about how you are going to make it all work. You will figure it out. Just like you always have.
Not knowing how hasn’t stopped you in the past, has it?
Let’s assume that you weren’t born knowing how to walk.* How did you learn to do this? You got off your diapered ass and slowly pulled yourself up with your sweaty little hands. You grabbed onto something solid and held on for dear life. You took baby steps. You reached out. You asked for, and got, help from other people. You took some painful falls and rocked some ugly bruises.
But you did it, didn’t you? You did it even though you didn’t know how when you started. You didn’t have snappy step by step instructions from social media gurus or YouTube videos to diagram your path for you.** Yet you didn’t let fear of “not knowing how” stop you. You just got started, and kept going. Kept trying. Kept learning. By trial and error, through your own grit and determination, you did it.
Making your dreams come true, even achieving the most simple goals, is a lot like learning to walk. You don’t need to wait for someone to tell you how. You will figure that out as you go, just like you always have. You can, and you will. Think about all of the other hard things you have mastered in your life. You learned to speak, read, write, drive, cook, and have good sex.*** You’ve already got a pretty good track record.
You don’t need to know how right now.
Get up from your comfortable place, and take a baby step. Just like you did when you were a little kiddle, before you were afraid of not knowing how.
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Footnotes, asides, and disclaimers:
*Those of you in the Advanced group can pick another example. Remember when you didn’t yet know how to pole vault? You mastered it with time and persistent effort, didn’t you? Of course you did.
**Some of you are probably young and tech-savvy enough that you could hack into Mommy’s iPhone and get access to that kind of thing. Good for you! Still, there’s only so much you can learn by watching others. Eventually you’ve just got to go out there and fall on your ass a few times before you know what you’re doing.
**It’s okay if you’re not there yet. We can talk about that in another column.