Thank you Seth! I needed this reminder today. God bless you.
Giving Up Your Need For Certainty
This morning I find myself in Brooklyn, NY. I’m going to spend the day with the founders of StoryTime Chess, a business that teaches kids how to navigate uncertainty. It teaches them decision-making and strategy as well. The business is growing like crazy. Parents are hungry for help in a culture where media has children constantly comparing themselves with those who look better than they do.
I’ve spent a lifetime giving young people the gift of uncertainty. I’m OK with starting something not knowing how it’s going to end. Along the way, I’ve made so many mistakes. Most people would be embarrassed, but I’ve learned that life doesn’t end when I fail. Anything I’ve learned to do in life, I began doing poorly.
Think about the things we all failed at initially:
Walking – toddlers repeatedly fall down
Playing a sport – we have to practice – “practice makes perfect”
Relationships – we start out awkward
Driving – insurance rates for young people tell you all you need to know
What we believe about practicing in public is important. If we begin holding people accountable for being perfect before they’ve practiced, then we may be handcuffing them to the status quo. How can they grow if they’re not allowed to practice?
As a nation, we’ve embraced perfectionism. Young people grow up with this expectation of having their act together in public. The selfie is a polished version of ourselves we post to Instagram. We hide out in private spaces and post public selfies.
Perfectionism makes faith difficult. How do I launch out into the unknown if I might fail? The uncertainty holds me back.
Cultural sensitivity has become more important than faith. It has become the shorthand for empathy in a culture that is increasingly not empathic. Inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings and you may have much to apologize for.
What if trust was more important than quality of effort? What if the opportunity for grace was worth the mistakes that were inevitable?
Committing to uncertainty can change the way you live your life. You become quicker to take risks when you know they’re part of growing up and getting better.
Who knows what my day holds for me here in Brooklyn? Will I learn something valuable or will my time meeting these new people and discussing their dreams and strategies be wasted? I don’t know. And I’m OK with that.
Seth, this is brilliant and very important. I’m going to share it if you don’t mind. I love the line about giving young people the “gift of uncertainty”. That is a gift. I needed to be reminded of how uncertainty played a huge part in my growth and development as a contributing member of humanity and society. Bless you this holy week.
Seth, this is powerful and timely. It’s wonderful podcast fodder which is why your friend of four decades is going to encourage you to launch one. Love you brother.
Ha – Butch! You believe in me more than I believe in myself. Well, there has to be something like that for me in the future. Who knows what, though.
It’s a podcast. Love you.