Don't Go Looking for Answers

"Echo," by Jaume Plensa, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

"Echo," by Jaume Plensa, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

It’s easy to get stuck in the search.

“I need to figure out what to do with my career.”

“What do I do next with my life?"

“This isn’t working but I don’t know what the answer is.”

I’ve said or thought some version of these phrases about half a billion times over my life. And when I get caught up in these phrases, they serve as prison bars, keeping me locked up behind their prickly letters, staying overwhelmed and unsure where to go, what to do first.

You too?

We all get stuck in the search. We’re human. But the reality is that we’re not stuck. We just think we are. It’s not our fault. We’re thinking machines—around 70,000 thoughts cruise through our minds during a 24 hour period. It’s like we’re swimming in our thoughts! So we’re bound to have a “what next?” thought, and then another one that paralyzes us, like: “I just don’t know!”

Try a new spin.

You don’t find the answer. The answer finds you.

And it does so when you slow down, get out of anxious thinking and find some calm clear spaces for reflection, for taking a step, for taking action, for getting out into the world in a way that works for you and stirs things up a bit.

You’ll know what to do when you don’t glom on to finding an answer, but start exploring, getting curious, connecting to people and peppering your schedule with actions that fill your life with—not answers—but living.

Life is for the living. Live, connect, get quiet, get out of the scary content of your thinking and let it flow by like a babbling brook—new thoughts will come—and orient yourself to the big amazing world of possibilities you COULDN’T EVEN THINK OF.

Answers will find you. Get resourceful. Have fun connecting in ways that light you up. Get moving!

Somehow the doing has given me a tremendous appetite for more!
— Juliet, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society"

Answers will come like turns in the road, pointing: That way. This way, over here, there. YES!

And: There’s no one right answer or decision. You can live with all of them. The so-called "answer" is just a stop along the path of life. Or the eddy in a stream flowing, flowing, flowing along.

Next time you're looking for answers, STOP. Take a breath, look out the window, go stand on the ground and hold your arms out and see a world sizzling with opportunities just WAITING to be found. Don't let the tangled web of thinking get you stuck.

Go out as a creator, making experiences. Walk barefoot down the street at sunrise. Surprise yourself.