Earn Your Certainty

The next time you feel uncertain, don’t leap to: “Who can tell me what to do?”

Instead, ask yourself, “What do I already know?” Then: “What remains unknown?” Next, focus on how to best answer the questions you don’t know–for example, through reading, research, or querying other people.

The quest for certainty is a fact-gathering process. There’s no shortcut. Even if you find someone who tells you what to do, you won’t know how he or she got to that conclusion if you accept it on blind faith. If you seek a shortcut to certainty, the next time you’re uncertain, you’ll be even more anxious and dependent than you were this time.

There’s nothing wrong with finding out information from people who know something you don’t know. But you have to fit that information into the context of knowledge you already have. And you have to take full responsibility for forming your own conclusions about what makes most sense for you to do, and why. You’re in the driver’s seat of your own mind, even if you gain knowledge and facts from people who know things you do not.