O Style | When Clarity Doesn't Come
When I look back at most of the big changes and decisions I made in my life, there was no addendum report underlining the potential success nor calculated risks of what I was embarking on. I just knew in my heart the decision was something I wanted to do for myself.
But many times even with all the clarity I felt deep inside, the uncertainty was just as palpable (and frightening!). Sometimes clarity wasn’t even present, but knowing that taking the leap to the other side was going to get me there or at least closer was motivation enough to go for it.
Not feeling certain or having clarity in our lives and our work can be so uncomfortable. Because quite simply as humans we want to have all the answers.RIGHT.NOW! (toddler tantrum voice)
OR can we just get a map that lets us know where there is a hidden bomb so we can make a detour, the exact location where we can earn the most coins, or even better where the treasure chest is located, pinpoints the black holes/rock bottoms ahead so we can avoid them and continue to live blissfully and happily comfortable…’til the day we DIE.
Sounds dramatic but let that simmer.
What if not having clarity every day/every passing hour or not feeling certain of the future, is exactly what we need as humans to compel us to want more out of our current circumstances.
There is a line in the movie “World War Z” that has stayed with me ever since, and for some reason, it just popped up in my head. It’s a short phrase that yet holds such powerful symbolism. Brad Pitt’s character and his family are at the beginning of a zombie-virus-like-apocalypse and found temporary shelter in the apartment of a Spanish-speaking family. They are waiting to get rescued by a helicopter before the building gets invaded by the infected. He tries to convince the reluctant father to come with them, that “people who move survive...and those who don’t…(he doesn’t finish his sentence)...Movimiento es Vida, Movimiento es Vida…You have a better chance if you come with us.”
The host father is afraid to leave the comfort of their home behind-- which before the infection had served as a place of security and safety. But now he finds himself very uncertain about what’s going on outside in the world and wants to hang on so tight to the false sense of safety and comfort that their apartment provides. Their world has drastically changed in a matter of 24 hours and rather than adapting simultaneously to the changes, he rather clings to what he once knew, in paralyzing fear of the uncertainty ahead. Even though doing so means there is a greater chance of staying alive and a higher probability of a better future for him and his family.
I have been paralyzed by fear of the unknown before. I know what that’s like to want to stay in the comfort of what I know for sure or what I can control. However something I learned about myself is that to thrive, I must invite/seek change, do new things (in spite of fear and discomfort).
When we choose to move through the discomfort and face the fog and the “darkness”, and all the confusion that comes with it, we get a better chance at learning something far more interesting about ourselves and potentially fulfilling than when we stay put or stuck.
When clarity doesn’t come, just keep moving.
When certainty isn’t clear, just keep moving.
When there is doubt, just keep moving. Because doing/trying something (or anything) is better than doing nothing.
And don’t be afraid to take people on for the ride (and by that I mean, share what’s on your mind with a loved one/friend). They’re probably braver and more supportive than you give them credit for.
So! I cannot possibly finish my post without sharing what happens to the host family. If you haven’t watched World War Z and plan to, maybe this is when you stop reading the post. And that’s okay. You made it this far, which means you’ve got the gist of what I’m trying to say.
Here it goes:
The journey from the apartment through the stairs up to the rooftop of the building is one of the most intense and thrilling scenes of this movie. Brad Pitt’s character and his family go from silently making their way up the stairs to running frantically to the roof because they are chased by vicious and crazy-fast zombies. Pitt then tells his wife to keep moving so he can fight off the zombies. It’s a fight that doesn’t look good for our main character, but to our surprise, the young boy, who we saw translating for this father in the previous scene, saves Pitt’s life by skillfully shooting off the zombie. For both the viewer and Pitt, this is the cue that the host family’s apartment has been attacked and the child may be the only survivor. The more poignant, crushing moment comes when they finally make their way to the helicopter and see the first zombie to rush through the roof door towards them, the infected father, whose calm demeanor had been replaced by a vile, raging-biting monster of a disease.
The beauty of (un)clarity and (un)certainty is that neither guarantees the other (in my opinion). But the sooner we can embrace them with courage and grace and move through it, the greater the permission we can give ourselves to live life at our highest and fullest potential.