There's an analogy that a lot of writers use when talking about writing. They say that writing a book is often like driving in the fog. You know what the destination is, but you can only see a few feet ahead of you and that's all you need to make it to your destination. The idea is that despite not seeing the entire route, which would give a sense of security and clarity, you only know what's going to happen in the short term. They have an idea of what will happen further down the road, but it's not clearly in sight. That leaves uncertainty in the writer for what may come ahead and despite the uncertainty it's okay because the writer trusts themselves to complete their story.
This car in the fog analogy can apply to your life too. Whatever goal you may have is your destination. You have an idea of the route, and you'll know when you get there, but the journey isn't clear to you. Everyone is like that, and with some of us, the fog is thicker and with others, it's lighter.
Knowing the full route gives a feeling of certainty and safety to our lives. When we know everything we have to do to achieve success, then there's no risks involved. Imagine if you were given a list of things you had to do to grow a business from its inception to a million dollar corporation. If such a list existed, there would be no need to take any risks because the path is clearly laid out. But that's both unrealistic and not interesting. Starting a business, getting into shape, writing a book, or even building a relationship all comes with some degree of risk and uncertainty. That's our fog.
The fog is necessary as it pushes us to take risks and build trust in yourself and the process you take to get to your destination. And like the process, reaching our destination comes, in part, from making ourselves better by building good habits and focusing on our values. Life would be boring without some uncertainty. If you knew everything that was going to happen, there wouldn't be any point in doing anything. As humans we're wired to discover and take risks because it's what kept us alive, and it's what gives us a full life now.
The amount of fog in your life is directly related to how much work you've done before you set your destination. What I mean is that if you're already living a healthy lifestyle, and you have good habits, and are able to build new habits without much struggle, achieving new goals and navigating the fog will be easier for you than someone who doesn't have the same habit structures you do.
Starting in a position of bad habits like a lot of social media time, unhealthy eating, no exercise, bad relationships, and a overwhelming feeling of being stuck or lost in life can make you feel like you're surrounded by the fog and can't even see your feet. There are a lot of uncertainties there, and the biggest one is "What do I want?" Many people have trouble answering that question, and it's a hard question to answer if you don't know yourself. What's important to you? What gets you excited? What gives you the most excitement for the longest time? How do you even define excitement? These questions are important to finding out your passions. These questions are important for knowing yourself.
Once you know yourself, the fog lifts substantially.
You can begin to know yourself through meditation, or asking yourself questions and searching for answers. Your answers may not come immediately, they could come hours, days or weeks later. Some good questions to consider asking to learn more about yourself are:
- If money was not a concern, what would I do with my life?
- What excites me?
- Is there something I've always wanted to try?
- Who do I admire, and what do they do? (modeling yourself after those you admire is a fantastic way to achieve success)
- Is there something I want to improve on?
Once you've found something you're passionate about, you can start driving through the fog, and you'll find as you build better habits related to your goals, or just better habits in general you'll see it becomes easier to achieve success. Now, going to the gym every morning at 5 am won't exactly help you write a bestseller, but it will help you when it comes to setting priorities and setting aside time to work on something. Good habits indirectly influence other good habits, and so the upward spiral begins.
I've said before that there's no easy answer to being successful, and there's no specific definition of success. To me, success is happiness and constant improvement. To you, it may be squatting three plates (315 lbs), or it may be earning a six-figure salary, or it may be reading twelve books a year. Whatever it is, there's going to be some fog on your journey and even though you can't see the destination, trust in yourself, trust in the process and you will make it there. Don't be afraid of taking risks, because risks are what help us grow.
Where's the fog in your life? How are you planning to make it easier to navigate?