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Today I had a long phone call with my best friend from Texas, James. He’s struggling because he doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do with his life. I listened as he talked about his various options among church jobs, documentary projects, and job offers.
“I just don’t know what I want to be doing right now,” he told me.
“I think that’s okay, man. Something I’m beginning to learn on this trip is that certainty is overrated. We all have doubts and struggles. People put a lot of pressure on us to be “certain.” But it’s unrealistic, nobody is certain. If somebody tries to act like they have it all together, I’m sorry, but they’re full of it. Everyone has shortcomings and doubts, the key is to put one foot in front of the other and act anyway. It’s okay to be uncertain,” I told him.
No matter what profession or age you are, people want you to have certainty. What’s your faith? What’s your major going to be in college? What are you going to do when you retire? The questions are endless. And they all propose the idea that we should be “certain” about our future.
It’s okay to not be certain. I’m giving you permission, yes, I am. You don’t have to be certain about your career, your graduate program, or even what you’re going to have for dinner tonight.
Before we started filming this documentary, I wasn’t certain about the angle we were going to take for the finished product. I wasn’t sure about the story I wanted to tell. I could tell a story about Alyssa’s and mine honeymoon across the country in an RV. I could also tell a story about how I worked 50 jobs in seven months. There were so many subplots within a bigger story, it was hard to decide and I felt the pressure to make a decision.
But since we’ve been on the road, the story I find myself wanting to tell more and more is that of the people I meet, the hourly workers. I love sharing their stories. They are inspiring to me. I could care less about how many jobs I’ve worked in the last 7 weeks (but if you’re wondering, 8 jobs). I could have sat around Austin for another six months trying to figure out what I wanted to feature. If I had tried to be certain, I probably would have missed the opportunity all together.
Certainty is over rated. It’s better to take action and correct steps later. Good luck.