The Sunday Mail
We are addicted to certainty, to knowing and doing what is predictable. Faith is not fiction but a necessary navigational instrument of life. Certainty is a myth because life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, routine and surprise.
To grow you have to embrace “not knowing” and be able to move away from your comfort zones. What you have been through is not all that there is. Where you are today is not a terminal point.
There are many times that I have come to a place where I did not know what to do, or even what to say. Not knowing is not the same as being lost. Uncertainty can be turned into opportunity with the right mindset. When you are out of your comfort zone, you can now enter the growth zone. You never grow by remaining chained to the past and living in the familiar and terming routine strategy. Challenge your limitations and go beyond what you have known in the past.
Searching for comfort
Many people are motivated by a search for pleasure and avoidance of pain. You can never grow unless you are willing to stretch beyond your comfort zone and do what you have never done in order to become what you have never been. Life offers no guarantees except the anchor of faith within and taking personal responsibility for your life. When you are growing you will always arrive at places where you have to confront the unknown. Not knowing does not mean that you are lost and your journey of life has ended. It is just a season, the fog will clear. The unknown is that place where you know that whatever worked in the past will no longer serve you in the future. Any crisis you face a message that tell you to move out of your comfort zone. To grow you have to be comfortable with not knowing and growing beyond your current references. Do not fear, when you do not know what to do, only believe. You learn best when you embrace not knowing as motivation to turn uncertainty into opportunity.
The sphere of knowledge
It was the 17th Century Mathematician, Blaise Pascal, who expressed it well when he said: “Knowledge is like a sphere. The larger its volume, the larger its contact with the unknown.” The more you know, the more you see how much you still do not know and are yet to know. When you do not know what to do, you are in a safe space. When you are growing you will always be uncomfortable. When you are no longer growing and you are now content to remain in the same place, it is time to go.
You cannot depend on the past to navigate the future. You can also not use hopeful statistics as navigational facts. Keep expanding your sphere of knowledge. Learn five new words everyday. Read for at least thirty minutes everyday. Refuse to go to bed with the same ignorance with which you woke up. Confront not knowing as a challenge and opportunity to grow.
Create for yourself a learning itinerary. Get around people that inspire you to learn and grow. Flee those who congratulate you for arriving and tempt you in the false pleasures of “knowing.” You know there are new things you have to learn and new ways of doing things. In times of change, learners inherit the earth while those that are certain about what they know find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that has moved on.
Keep growing your sphere of knowledge and challenging the limits of what you know. Never park on yesterday because it is not history. Stay current by being motivated to learn and grow.
Arriving at Finisterre
Finisterre is a special and unavoidable place. You will likely not arrive at it once, but you will find that when you are growing and developing, you will keep passing through this special place. You might find that you are living there or at least know someone who does.
James, the Apostle, and brother of Jesus Christ, is said to have died in Spain. In his honour a shrine was built at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Cape Finisterre is the final destination of the famous pilgrimage to this shrine of Apostle James the Great. This famous journey of pilgrimage is called “Il Camino”. Like all journeys of life, it is a journey of self-discovery and learning.
In the final stretch of the Camino journey, the pilgrims have to walk a further 90km in order to reach Cape Finisterre. The cape is a beautiful mass of land that is framed on one side by steep fearful cliffs that drop down to the dark Atlantic sea below. The beautiful peninsula looks like the final edge to the world hard set against a black mass of unending sea water. It was aptly named in Latin, “finis terrae,” meaning “the end of the world.”
You also may feel as though you have arrived at Finisterre — the end of your world. That place where you reach the edge and are not sure where the future leads to. Or, if there is even a future to talk about. Despair and despondency have loud annoying voices. It could be that you have faced a personal tragedy, like losing a love one, or some other disappointments and unfulfilled dreams. Whatever edge you may have come to, do not give up or lose hope. The world has not ended yet.
There are massive opportunities that are nested within any adversity. Keep on your Camino, your journey of pilgrimage.
Hold on and only believe. All things are possible and your day is coming. There is hope ahead and a promise within. You will rise again and do great things. There is always a way and not knowing what to do does not mean that you are lost or you have become a failure. Do not carry the failures of the past, just use them as stepping stones as you rise to your greatness.
In describing the experience of reaching Finisterre, Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner say: “Finisterre is the edge of everything known and familiar, a mysterious place. It separates our current reality, what we are comfortable with, from that strange, unexplained, undiscovered and perhaps undiscoverable. Behind us we have solid ground, the knowledge that got us so far. Ahead of use have the unknown, the mysterious sea, unpredictable and uncontrollable. The fog is starting to settle and it is hard to see around us; the landscape is no longer familiar and there are no road signs or maps to show us the way.”
Saying “I do not know.”
There is power in the little words: “I do not know.” Many times the people around us want us to be certain, to know what to do and the next steps. Yet sometimes the wisdom of growth and learning is just acknowledging that you do not know, but you are willing to take responsibility, keep learning and take on one mountain at a time. I do not know what the future will be like, but I know who holds the future. For me that is good enough .
Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author, and executive coach. His life purpose is to inspire and promote greatness. He can be reached at: [email protected] and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634. His website is: www.miltonkamwendo.com