“All Great Changes Are Preceded By Chaos.”
~ Deepak Chopra
Who made the rule that we had to have an answer to everything? Who made the rule that we had to know who we are, what we want to do with our lives, what career we want to have, what religious doctrines (if any) we want to follow, who we want to marry, and what are hobbies, interests, or lack thereof entail? Who said there are these rules about being decisive? Everyone likes to give people reasons to “find themselves”. I want to take a step back today and examine the idea of the question. I digress. I know I’m asking a lot of questions here. But what if the answer was in that questioning and undecided state? We do not have answers without questions right? So as you’re wondering if you are interested in someone, if you should take this job or that job, or if you should get a salad at Whole Foods vs. drive through at Taco Bell take a step back and realize that we are constantly finding answers within our uncertain states. Want to know why?
Let me tell you a secret:
That’s where the magic is.
By not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable we deprive ourselves of feelings. Without feelings, we are lost. We are talking heads. In a society that endlessly pounds away at us to have the answer to the question, who’s to say “I don’t know.” is not the right answer? What is Vulnerability? What are some examples of it?
The dictionary defines it as:
the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
What does this evoke? Fear. And fear is scary. It goes without saying. But only by facing these fears, does change occur. So what are some examples of vulnerability?
In a recent presentation Melanie Childers (MA, MDiv, BCC, LPC) gives some great examples:
Telling my CEO that we won’t make payroll next month
Laying off employees
Presenting my ideas to the world and getting no response
Standing up for myself and for friends when someone else is critical or gossiping
Asking for forgiveness
Waiting for the biopsy to come back
Calling a friend whose child just died
First date after my divorce
Trying something new
Sharing an unpopular opinion.
Wow. Uncertainly requires bravery. It’s hard to be brave in 2017.
Anyone ever been SkyDiving? I have. In Australia above the Great Barrier Reef. I must say it was a peaceful experience. Surprised? It was a lot of fun. And a rush. What is it about skydiving? Most people’s reaction is it seems like something incredibly scary. But once you’re in the air if you open your eyes it’s really not. Truly. It’s a “BLISSFUL” experience as Will Smith describes in the video I’m about to share.
“THE POINT OF MAXIMUM DANGER IS THE POINT OF MINIMUM FEAR.”
I can personally confirm what he is saying is 100% correct. What can we learn from this? Ultimate serenity is on the other side of fear.
With that being said here are a couple of phases of our humanity and and proof that being a little uncertain in each phase that proves that uncertainty actually is a hidden answer in and of itself.
Oscar Wilde once brilliantly proclaimed that the very essence of romance is uncertainty. Dating Apps are cool but wow do they strip away the real you. You can hide behind whatever you want. You don’t ever have to meet the person. You can put whatever your best photo is forward. You can show yourself doing fun things in exotic places. All this is wonderful, but it’s rare we see someone laying on their couch watching TV and eating Doritos.
Here’s another secret. The best moments expose real vulnerability and often lead to romance and connection.
Regarding the boom of online dating apps in the past few years, writer Cassie Werber in her article “Dating Apps Make People Less Attractive In Real Life” writes:
This is quite different from the traditional romantic trajectory, in which two people get to know each other and become closer over time. “Tinder feels more like a huge menu than mutually dependent reciprocal choice,” Hall says. Based on general evaluability theory, “people devalue their partner when they rate their conversation partner against attractive others, because they had other people they would have wanted more.”
The bottom line is to find a potential mate we have to love. We have to be out in the world and raw and real. I also truly believe that most of the time the person you meet in online dating is not what you expected when you see them in person. This is not always the case however it is very easy to be let down. Want to know why? Several reasons.
But being vulnerable is not easy to do. We have to face things we don’t want to face. Living in the raw so to speak isn’t fun at first. But once we’ve jumped out of the airplane, realize we have a parachute, and see the beautiful view, fear turns to bliss.
The fact is:
Finding love online is a tough game going in. That’s not to say plenty of people don’t meet their future soulmates on apps. But it is a hard platform to find connection on. The best thing you can possibly be is you and being you comes with allowing yourself to not necessarily be a perfect 10 in your real life or online life. There’s magic in vulnerability. There’s a hidden truth in uncertainty. Embrace this and you’ll be surprised what turns your life takes.
We are constantly told we have to be ready for job interviews. You better go in and know the answer to every questions, say the answer with confidence, and do all the right things or you don’t get the job. Bit of pressure no? First off, who says you have to have the answer to every question? Even in the biggest job interview of your life, not knowing the answer could be what makes a company hire you. The reason for this is it’s the moment we are most vulnerable is when we are most connected to our inner truth and humanity. Those moments of brash rawness are a beautiful and very authentic thing.
Mallory Blair, Co-founder of Small Girls PR met with a woman recently from an investment firm who runs communications for a portfolio that includes companies such as ASOS and Facebook. The woman asked her if she felt, at 25 years old and new to the PR world, vulnerable and insecure. It reminded her of an important human truth that is often overlooked.
So yes, I definitely feel vulnerable. Some days more than others. But it’s knowing that I don’t know everything that causes me to live by these four rules:
Hire people more experienced and smarter than I am
Be clear and upfront about anticipated results and capabilities
Charge based upon the value I can confidently deliver
Those are the same four rules that end up defining the quality of my personal output and, in turn, contribute to the character of our company.
Mallory realizes the power in vulnerability and in being honest with people about it. See, vulnerability drives progress. If we aren’t vulnerable, we are comfortable. Mallory concluded that not being comfortable meant change was inevitable.
If we are comfortable we are at a standstill. And last I checked you can’t steer a parked car. Identifying weaknesses improves strengths. There’s no better example of this than the gym. Breaking down muscle tissue builds stronger muscle tissue. See any La-Z Boy recliners at a gym recently? Comfort is boring and not attractive to the onlooker. I was working out with professional host and fitness trainer Brittani Zonker recently and she mentioned focusing on the parts of the body that are weakest during the workout. Not just to go in and work out those parts. But WHILE you’re working each part think about the part. Think about the muscles moving. This is what really builds muscle. It occurred to me afterwards that by identifying those “parts” in our day to day life, we build each muscle. So it’s best to embrace this power of not knowing the answers, seeing and recognizing your flaws, and embracing your vulnerable side. This will ultimately catapult you forward.
What have we learned so far?
Uncertainty = Vulnerability
Vulnerability = Facing Fears
Facing Fears = Not Comfortable
Not comfortable = Change
You must live in and embrace uncertainty if you want to build a path to change. There’s magic in vulnerability. There’s hidden truth in uncertainty. What if the real answers to the questions of life were in the questions themselves?
By Geoff Pilkington
You can connect with me at: www.geoffreypilkington.com