One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.
– Mathematician Bertrand Russell
A somewhat elitist statement, but one I’ve been quoting to a lot of mates lately as they worry about the fact that they think they shouldn’t be worrying about stuff.
The second stanza is the bit I emphasise. If you have a mind that ventures beyond the everyday – to new, and better, and improved – a certain amount of angst comes with the package.
Oooh, yes. It’s unavoidable.
If you are to be bold and creative, you should be hesitant and consider options. It’s almost a duty thrust upon the bold and active, the makers, the doers. We should go back and forth, weigh it all up. We will be leaving a stamp. We don’t want to regret it.
I’ve come to learn that I rarely regret a decision. It’s because I weigh everything up so diligently for so long, that by the time I act it’s as close to good and right as it can be.
I also do this thing where whatever I do, I allow time for doubting. When I write, I sit on it overnight. The next day I have something more to add, to make it better.
When I don’t know something, I stall. I sit on it. And mull. My head goes back and forth while I shower, ride my bike, eat breakfast. I tinker with the idea, adding layers, questioning and doubting, until…it sits true.
And, so, I take twice as long as most to write a book, I stall certain decisions, I don’t buy a car or a sofa, nor settle until I feel it’s right.
The elegant trick here? To do the doubt and indecision with an awareness it’s because you’re imaginative and understanding. Smile at it. Don’t expect to be certain. And chill.
As Nietszche wrote, he who has a why can handle any how…