Long ago I recommended that we should not try to figure it all out, (whatever “all” is varies) or we will be immobilized since we can’t figure it all out, and probably if we try, we will not get anything done. Recently I have heard similar advice from two different people, worded a little differently.
The first person who I heard talk about this is Brianna West on a podcast, “101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think,” which is also a book by the same title. West says, “Focus on the next right step.” (A necessary disclaimer. I love this work, but I do not appreciate the occasional use of profanity.) This is also discussed in an article in Joshua Becker’s September 2022 digital magazine, Simplify, an article by Leo Babauta. In Babauta’s article, “How Healthy Habits Spark Healthy Success,” he states, “Just take the next step.” Although these two are similar, Babauta’s word “take” is more action-oriented than West’s “focus on.” West’s “Focus on the next right step” places importance on “right.” I recommend we combine these two versions and “Take the next right step.”
Too often we are trying to figure out all of the steps involved in an action, when if we just take the next step, the rest of what we need to know and do will become clear. We need to trust the process and move forward by taking the next right step. We can think of the next right step as the most logical step. We can also think of it as the step we know we should take, even when we can’t figure out the steps after that.
This way of thinking and behaving, taking the next right step when we don’t have a clear sense of what should or will come after that step, requires trust and faith. Faith that the unfolding of those next steps will occur. Trust in the process.
Given the rapid pace and unpredictability of change, being able and willing to take action when we can’t see clearly past the next step requires courage. Courage that we will have what we need when we need it; maybe not before, but at the moment we need it. Courage that we will be able to deal with ambiguity. Courage that we are up for the challenge.
Is there a message for you in this? Is there something you have been resisting doing because you can’t clearly see all of the steps in the process? Are you trying to figure it all out before taking the next step?
Are you able to trust in yourself enough to move forward, take the next right step, and watch the others unfold?