January 20, 2017 / THE ART OF THE START
January 20, 2017
Over the last four years I have been through a lot of “starts”. Leaving home, going to college, studying abroad, working at six different jobs, choosing a career path, graduating college, moving back home and officially entering adulthood. My particular phase of life is a series of starts and finishes that come fast and hard. It feels like any time I get the hang of what was originally new I have to move on to another new beginning. But all of these starts have taught me something about adulthood, most people are just winging it.
Ignorance is bliss
As a child I thought the adults in my life had everything figured out. I thought they had the answers to the most important questions and the solutions to every problem. I trusted that they knew what they were doing and that they always had a plan.
Things that aren’t real: Santa Claus, magic and adult omniscience
As I have moved from adolescence into emerging adulthood I have begun to realize that the belief I held as a child surrounding this magic adult knowledge was just another beautiful illusion of the childhood bubble. At first my newfound knowledge – that people are simply doing the best they can, making educated guesses and hoping for a positive outcome – was alarming. It made me realize that at no point would I suddenly have everything figured out.
Novelty means inevitable uncertainty
But the more I have come to accept the knowledge that we are all just wingin’ it, the more comfortable I have become with starts. No one has it figured out when they begin something new – that’s what makes it a start. And that’s also where the beauty lies. We take what life gives us or we go after what’s important to us, we do the best we can with the knowledge and skills we possess, and then we do our best to learn the rest.
Confidence comes from falling on your ass and discovering you can get back up
After you experience enough starts you develop a sense of confidence that can only come with living. In the past four years I have realized that I don’t always need a concrete plan, I don’t have to know how to do everything perfectly, and it’s not necessary to have all the answers. In fact, asking questions is often far more productive. And screwing up is when you learn the most.
The only thing you have to know is how to learn
It turns out that the only thing I need to enter a new start is the knowledge that I am capable of learning. If I give something my 110% best effort I will learn, and eventually I will begin to have the answers. As you learn you begin to work out what you’re doing and feel less like you’re winging it. But nobody, no matter how many starts they have had, has the answers to everything.
Lean into the fear and go for it
It’s so easy not to start something because you feel incompetent – sometimes it feels like everyone else is more qualified than you. But throw yourself in there anyway. Allow yourself to be humbled by having no idea what you’re doing and working your butt off to learn.
Because the art of the start is not beginning with perfection or sage wisdom. The real art of the start is beginning with the knowledge that you have the ability to learn and the drive to do what it takes to grow and excel. Until then, wing it until you fly.