Apr 082014 0 Responses

You Know More Than You Think

“I don’t know what to do.”

It’s the reason a majority of people communicate with me about about a situation in their life:

-A wife’s heart is dying but her husband refuses to listen to her cries for help

-A student is soon to graduate but few job offers are on the table

-A friendship is strained and neither friend is certain how to reconcile

Few people sit down with me with great confidence about their next step. They call because they are uncertain. They seek help because they don’t know what to do. (See: Dr. Seuss Said You Are Bad at Decision Making)

And we almost always find the next step.

We may not be able to define everything which needs to take place, but it is rarely difficult to find the next step.

“I don’t know what to do,” is a phrase I tell myself on many occasions.

It feels so true. A situation seems complex. Differing decisions all seem to have negative consequences. I want something to change but I don’t know what to do about it.

Yet why is it that I so often find myself in situations where I don’t know what to do, but I rarely talk to others in which their next step isn’t obvious?

I often don’t know what I should do but rarely do I not know what others should do. (See: The One Piece of Advice I Would Give a 7th Grader)

Recently I was thinking about a situation and I began to tell myself, “I don’t know what to do.” The situation really perplexed me and I couldn’t figure out how to make it better. While trying to find a solution, I tried to remember if I had ever walked beside another person as they dealt with a similar issue. What questions did I ask them? What advice did I give?

Quickly I began to realize I knew exactly what I needed to do. I might not know all the steps I should take, but the first one or two steps were obvious.

While I told myself I didn’t know what to do, it simply wasn’t true. I knew exactly what to do, but I didn’t want to do it.

Suddenly I realized that’s almost always the case. Nearly every time I say, “I don’t know what to do,” what I actually mean is “I don’t want to do what I know I should.”

It’s true for me and it’s often true for you. (See: Do You Know What Today Is?)

While there are times in which we do not know what to do, those times are rare. We almost always know the next step. We may not know the next ten steps. We may not know what the outcome of the situation will be. But rarely are we completely clueless as to do what we should do next.

There is a difference between not knowing what to do and not wanting to do what we know we should. The former is ignorance, the latter is cowardice. Truth be told, we are cowards far more often than we are ignorant.

Consider a situation in your life where you think you don’t know what you should do. Is it true? Are you really stumped toward your next action or are you rebelling against what should be done?

For More, See:

How to Determine What To Do: At Work, In Marriage, In Life

How Leaders (and Parents) Focus on the Wrong Things

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