One of the scariest things in life is not knowing.  Not knowing how things will turn out, not knowing if you’ll succeed, not knowing if you’ll be able to actually do it, not knowing if you’re going to survive…The unknown can be absolutely terrifying because it can be anything.  It can be everything.  It can be the worst thing we’ve ever imagined and if we are creative nowhere else in our lives we are Academy Award winning producers of nightmare apocalyptic scenarios presented against the rich blankness of the unknown.

The anti-dote? Well, it’s not will power or mind over matter or gratitude meditations.  In fact, it’s really the opposite of all that.  It’s doing.  How do you know what you don’t yet know, by doing. Don’t know if you can do a thing? Go do the thing and you’ll figure it out in a hurry.  Don’t know if something will work out?  Start doing it and the answer will become clear without your having to think about it at all. Want to know how long something is going to take?   Look at the clock before you do that something and then check the clock when you’re done.  That’s how long it took.  Silly and obvious, right? But there is a ton of energy and time wasted in trying to think and plan and prepare around this silly obvious answer.

Want to know what your voice can become? Well, you have to sing a bit then. It won’t become marvelous on its own.  Want to know what sculptures are inside you? Get your hands dirty.  Want to know whether that story you’ve hand in your head for years is good enough to be a novel? Start writing the words.  There’s no magic bullet.  You have to put your butt in the chair and fingers to writing implement.  You have to put the paint on the brush, take the charcoal and make a line on the paper, squeeze the clay, chip the stone, play the note, do that thing.  Not knowing is the worst part.  Every artist fails repeatedly and sometimes often.  So does every child learning to walk.  We don’t chastise babies when they fall down. We make sure they aren’t hurt and watch them get up again and again and again.  In fact we enjoy watching their antics and applaud their attempts.  It might help to apply some of that applause to yourself when it’s time to confront the fear of not knowing.  Or better yet, don’t confront the fear because it will go on its own.  Each action you take to move forward gives you knowledge. Each action contains the gift of knowing.  So put your butt in the chair and let’s do this.