What Inspires Me? Uncertainty (And a Healthy Dose of Fear! And Loathing!).


“I’m always afraid, and I’m pregnant with some strange monster.” James Baldwin (1963)

In my nearly 40 years of life on this rock, I’ve realized, that for me, starting a journey and not having a clue of how it will end is not the most scary feeling in the world. To peer into the unknown and not see a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel is an exhilarating and somewhat unnerving sensation. But it’s not the scariest thing that I‘ve experienced. In fact, not knowing how my endeavors, or life choices, or things are going to turn out is pretty inspirational.

Here’s why.

To be frank, I need a bit of uncertainty in my life. It’s a kick in the pants to actually do something meaningful, being able to shape something real out of an amorphous and (more often than not) less than ideal situation.

I’ve learned over the years that I’m good at creating some kind of direction that comes somewhat close to how I envisioned things would unfold before I started.

On the other hand, if you throw in a healthy dose of fear of making a fatal misstep or falling flat on my face or embarrassing the people who have been so supportive?

That’s when things start to get a little scary.

Besides. None of you asked to come along for this ride.

But if James Baldwin can deliver the type of strange but beautiful and truthful monsters that influenced several generations, so can I. In our own ways, we all are capable of changing the world for the better. Some of us may do big things, but the reality is, it takes a lot of little changes to sustain a revolution.  It starts with knowing what motivates you, and frankly, what scares you.

Don’t let your fear stop you; let it inspire and motivate you to greater things. Push that strange (and sometimes grotesque) monster out and embrace it, love it, nurture it, because it may be the very thing that other people need to witness in order to face their own inner monsters.

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