“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.” – Abe Lincoln
To decide where we go next, we must first know where we are. There are very few words that are so aptly fit for every aspect in life like these are. Our words and advice are so contextual that words from inspirational speeches and podcasts and blogs are all up for individual interpretation. And these words by our former president are applicable to every moment in our lives. Make of it what you may now, for in the future you will be in a new place with a new mindset with a new toolkit of skills, experiences, influences, and opinions so much so that you will interpret these words in whichever way they may inspire you at that point in your life. Let these words guide you.
For those suffering with anxiety, it is extremely overwhelming when trying to take that next step. You may not even know where to place your foot to move forward; but maybe you won’t even move one foot, perhaps you crawl an inch or breath life into your heart to find the courage to get up out of bed or off the floor or wherever you may lie, emotionally paralyzed by the overwhelming thoughts of the future and all the uncertainties of the events that lie ahead in this place where we may never even reach. Think back to all those worries that never came to fruition. Think back on the wasted mind-space that those thoughts took up. Start charging rent for your headspace!!
These words may hit you hard or not at all. Take them as they are. But, know this…you can only take the next step when you know exactly where you are. Think of those GPS apps, sometimes you are confused which way to turn and you don’t know your bearings, which way is northeast, should i go left or right to walk towards my destination. Look for landmarks, ground yourself, and surely you will find your way.
Try not to get overwhelmed by the big picture. First find out where you are and make small actionable steps towards where you want to be. Break down big dreams into small actions. No matter what, do not stop moving. If you find yourself stuck, pick yourself up off the ‘pity pavement’ you have always resided on and just start doing something. Do anything. You will be surprised what you can accomplish in a year and you will also be surprised at where you will be if you just take that step.
I could never have predicted to be where I am physically, emotionally, professionally, and location-wise five years ago, heck, even a year ago… But here I am. You too will never know what life has in store for you–both good and bad. If we could predict it, well, life wouldn’t be all that fun. Excitement and anxiety lies in the uncertainty. But if we can suppress the anxiety we can step into success.
I challenge you to set a goal you would like to achieve, break down what you will need to succeed, and plan out the small actions you can take every day to get yourself closer to that goal. Revise as necessary but make sure you take action. Maybe you will find yourself registering for a new online course or an art class or watching photoshop tutorials on YouTube. Whatever it may be, work towards that goal but always be open to the random opportunities that get thrown your way. Like the old saying, “when it rains, it pours,” you too will find this to be true. When you least expect it, life may throw you just what you need. And remember the best way to get somewhere you didn’t want to be was by not choosing your own path… This path also leads you to a life full of regret. What would you regret not doing? Write down your interests and write down what you could actually commit to, then do it!
“‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where-‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go’ said the Cat.”