I Have No Idea What I'm Doing
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
And probably, neither do you
There. I said it. I have no idea what I'm doing about almost everything. I mean, sure, I go to work, and I know how to do my job correctly, and I can drive my car in such a way that it doesn't go flying over the tops of big things like it was The General Lee in The Dukes of Hazard (unfortunately). But these are not the things to which I'm referring. It's my theory that none of us has any idea what we are doing until one day, one day, we do.
Before you chalk what I say up to being as applicable to your life as is pondering the sound of one hand clapping, let me explain. First, I want to clarify that I'm not suggesting that people don't know how to do their jobs, although sometimes people don't! I mean, probably your heart surgeon is pretty good at heart surgery. And most people know how to do things like their jobs, how to run a washing machine, and to wear pants in public at all times unless they are George Clooney, who doesn't have to wear pants in public unless he chooses to do so. In fact, if you see him in public sans pants, please send me your location immediately.
When I say none of us has any idea what we are doing, I speak of less tenuous things, like our hopes and dreams, and stuff like that. Let's think about this for a minute, politics aside, as I don't want to alienate anyone, and I know many good jokes could be made here. Think about if you were running for President, and, to your shock, won. After you slept for two straight days and got over the shock of winning, you'd probably be like, "Holy shit! I'm the President! I don't know how to President. Presidenting is not something I learned in college. I still don't know how to fold a fitted sheet! How could someone trust me with nuclear launch codes?!"
Okay, honestly, I don't think anyone but Martha Stewart knows how to fold a fitted sheet properly, and I bet she irons her sheets before she folds them, and what kind of psycho irons their sheets? But you probably get the gist of what I'm saying. It's hard to change your life because when you do, you have no idea what you're doing. Whether the change is good or bad, and especially if it's a significant change, you're probably going to be like, "What the hell? How am I supposed to do this?"
We feel okay with what is comfortable, whether that thing is good or bad, and if it changes, we feel weird, maybe even awful, and we might mourn the loss of something we've wanted to change for a long time.
For example, if I knock on your door every Saturday at 9 AM, and you answer the door holding a donut, and then I punch you in the face and steal your donut and run away eating it, that's gonna suck, right? Well, it will suck for a while, but if I do it for ten years, without missing a Saturday, you will get used to it. And even though you hate me for punching you in the face, and you have started buying the grossest kind of donut you know I hate that has fruit filling in it so that when I steal it and eat it, I'll throw up, you've gotten used to our routine. Though it's kind of sucky, it's comfortable. You rely on it, even, to give your Saturday mornings structure.
So, when I eventually find something else to do on Saturday mornings at 9 AM, like hot yoga or edging my yard, and one day I don't show up at your house, you will feel really, really weird. And you're going to have to throw away that disgusting fruit-filled donut because obviously, you're not going to eat it. When I keep not showing up, you'll keep feeling weird. You might even feel an odd nostalgia and sadness for the days when I used to steal your donut and punch you in the face. You may feel a loss. You may then have no clue what to do with this loss of routine, and you may think something is wrong with you for feeling down because something has changed for the better. You'll have no idea what you're doing.
I think because we get used to the familiar, we often don't try to change it. When we do, we don't know what to do next, and that doesn't feel so hot. We feel lost, aimless, and maybe like we have something to grieve. You may hate your job and want to quit to start your own business. Your business idea may even be viable, and you've planned it all out, and you'll probably be successful, but you're afraid of that feeling of helplessness, of not having a clue. You'll have to do things like talk to investors and try to do this horrible thing called "networking," and how can you do those things well when last week you accidentally wore two different shoes to work one day?
Right now, I'm going through many changes in my life. If you manage to keep reading my writing over time, you'll find out about them. I work a nine to five job, but my dream is to be a real writer, you know, who gets paid to write. One who can put their job title as "writer" on LinkedIn without knowing that, to be honest, they should include a little asterisk that says "NOTE: I also work in an office eight hours a day." I do not have a LinkedIn profile, but I have started listing myself everywhere as a writer, and I do not include that I have a day job, and I do not say I am an aspiring writer. I'm writing, aren't I?
Technically, the lady at that Chinese restaurant that hasn't bought a proper credit card machine and is still using one of those carbon-sliding things from the nineties is a writer. She does hand-write your order on a receipt pad and manually adds the total, so I'm technically not being dishonest when I call myself a writer. Also, doing so makes me feel more successful, and a little more like I know what I'm doing.
I will end this post by telling you some of the times I've had no idea what I'm doing, aside from almost every moment of every day.
When I put together that huge IKEA desk all by myself and had seven pieces leftover afterward, and I was afraid my desk would topple, killing all my pets and me
When I quit my teaching job and started my own business, which later failed
When I started three other businesses, all of which failed
When I, more than once, spoke up to superiors at previous jobs about things I found to be unfair and got in trouble more than once for doing so and then pretended to be confident and not to care even though I was about to pee myself, and one time a supervisor cried and apologized
When I, horror of horrors, was doing online dating and pretended to be very confident every time I went out with anyone, even though most of the time it was so awkward I wanted to crawl under the table
When I have to answer the phone at work, and someone asks me a weird question, and I pretend I'm very knowledgeable and know just what to do, when in reality I have no idea what the hell the person is talking about, and quite possibly I didn't even understand a word they said. Then I transfer the person to a coworker who seems like they could answer the question and tell the caller I'm transferring them to the correct person. But I never had a clue who the hell the correct person is because there was no one available to ask
My point is, don't be afraid to make a change and follow your dreams. Don't be scared to pretend you are confident when you're not confident; In my opinion, that's the best way to develop confidence. Don't even be afraid to act like you know things you don't know when it serves the situation and helps your cause and doesn't hurt anyone-I am mostly referring to business situations here. Do not do this with people you know well and like, or they will think you are a know-it-all jackass.
It's okay that you can't fold a fitted sheet, or that you continuously spill food on your shirt every time you eat, or that you have, on more than one occasion, chosen a public bathroom stall that had no toilet paper and you had to fashion toilet paper from those disposable toilet seat covers (Not that this happened to me).
You can be flawed and incompetent in some areas, and do and say stupid and embarrassing things, and you can still follow your dreams. You can embarrass yourself every day and continue to be amazing. And at first, you'll have no idea what you're doing until one day, one day, you will.