Nothing Is Certain

To get started and commit, or to seek assurances and procrastinate?

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Photo by Lubo Minar on Unsplash

Millions of years of evolution have equipped us humans with a finely tuned sense of self-preservation. We crave safety and stability, even when we want to do more and get more from life.

Our brain is constantly on standby to steer us away from risk, and discourage us from anything that might threaten our precious comfort-zone.

It’s useful for keeping us safe — less so when we want to try and achieve bigger, better and bolder things in life.

When we go out on a limb, whether to hunt for antelope to feed our cubs or to create something innovative to share with the world, it’s with a sense of fear and trepidation. It feels scary.

We crave reassurances that will guarantee success and bring us home safely after our adventures.

It’s an innate drive, and a tough one to overcome.

Assurances aren’t always forthcoming. But if someone tells us we’ll be okay, or better still can demonstrate how they succeeded, we suddenly feel more optimistic about our chances of doing the same.

Beware though — for every reassurance and piece of evidence that supports our case, there will be others that serve up doubt and fuel our insecurities. For every person who can demonstrate success, there will be another who has failed and wants to convince us that we will too.

There’s little logic in the notion that because one person succeeded or failed, we will do the same. And yet we seek out others’ stories as if they should make a difference and determine our choices.

It’s the same when we purchase a new toy — whether a car, a laptop or some other gadget. We retrospectively trawl the internet for reviews from others who’ve bought the same and loved it, to make us feel better.

We selectively ignore those who hated it, discounting them as cranks and weirdos — as if their experience might somehow degrade or tarnish our own.

At some point, regardless of market conditions, consumer reviews, the weather forecast or whether we feel we’re ready, there’s no option but to get started. There’s no way to bring certainty in the outcome other than to stop procrastinating, to get started, to trust the process and to see what the fates bring.

Sometimes we just have to get on and do it — regardless of what our research and preparation has told us. There’s no substitute for giving our best efforts and seeing what happens.

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A writer, dad and husband sharing his thoughts, wins and losses to help and inspire others. Say hello at

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