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None of Us Has Any Idea What We Are Doing

(Follow Ethan on Facebook or Twitter, Check out his books, or upcoming online courses he is teaching at IDP)

Thought for the day: "It's quite possible none of us has any idea what we are doing, and amazing wisdom and compassion can come from recognizing that."

I was thinking about this this morning. The kind of certainty that comes from pretending we know what is going to happen, which is the kind of certainty which often makes us feel competent and somehow professional in life, is total bullshit (pardon my french).

On the other hand, the kind of certainty we can develop in basic goodness and compassion and skillfulness simply does not come from the pretense of knowing what is going to happen and exactly how we will handle it.

But the more uncertainty we develop in knowing what will happen, and the more certainty we gain in basic goodness, the more we will be able to handle life skillfully. It's really true.

Please, try to have no idea what you are doing today. But please, do try to remember why you do anything.

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Comments

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http://www.wighair.org.uk/party-wigs-c-1.html Something comes up every day that reminds me I that, really, I don't know what's going on. I'm making it up and so is everyone else. On the rare occasion when I kinda feel like I do know, I don't trust it. It's always been this way and I always thought it was a problem! NOT! Woohoo! http://www.lovewigs88.com

It is all about basic

It is all about basic goodness and compassion when you are dealing with people. So glad that you are talking how to use this to benefit you and others. So much to learn from it all here. Keep up the good work. alarmforce

This is great :) thank you,

This is great :) thank you, ethan.

confidence.

so, we can trust ourselves if we have trust in our basic goodness, yes? we can be confident in what we are doing each moment, yes? i think we often *so* don't trust ourselves that we second guess ourselves constantly. we can step even knowing we can't know if there is ground to step on.

EGO

"None of Us Has Any Idea What We Are Doing"

Best not to point the finger at everyone like you just did an assume you know what others know or do not know. Because you don't. But your tone here, and your talks, as usual, almost always imply that you do (know).

Perhaps a more humble approach, " I have no Idea what I am doing." Perhaps then the adults will listen.

Wow

Whatever you have against Ethan, it has nothing to do with this post. No one could reasonably read this as calling anyone out in some un-humble manner. This is just a basic bit about uncertainty, and a simple and humorous post. The things people are willing to say hidden behind layers of online anonymity are crazy. Thanks to Ethan for this post, and compassion to the author of this comment. -Dale

to the commenter above on "EGO"

glad you've figured out what it means to be an adult.

it's funny how people love to criticize what is obviously true about themselves. 

my 14 year old once took issue with the idea that "being right" was a "below the line" behaviour like resentment, justification, etc, according to one teaching i'd been to. when i asked him why he had a problem with that, he said, "Well, if someone looks at someone else and accuses them of 'being right' aren't they just doing the same thing and being right themselves?" damn kids. they see through our BS so easily.

uh-oh...so i guess i'm "being right" too now. lol. 

No clue

Something comes up every day that reminds me I that, really, I don't know what's going on. I'm making it up and so is everyone else. On the rare occasion when I kinda feel like I do know, I don't trust it. It's always been this way and I always thought it was a problem! NOT! Woohoo!

Thank You!

This is some of the best advice/reminders one could get. Thank you!

Meaningful Days/Meaningful People

This post reminds me about a quote from HHDL about finding meaning in the things we do or the relationships we have with people we meet. The days come and go and people are going to come and go in and out of our lives at different times that we cannot predict with absolute certainty. What we can do is provide meaning to our actions every day or to a conversation that we are having with a friend. Our ability to develop an open mind and then be mindfully present of all the things that fill that openness is where knowledge is gained in the most significant ways. Thanks for the thought.

And wisdom. Yes, thank you.

And wisdom. Yes, thank you.

No idea

Funny, I've had the strong feeling that I didn't know what I was doing for a few days now. It feels good for some reason. Maybe good things are just around the corner.

Dan @ http://ZenPresence.com

not knowing

oh, this is too funny!!... i spent the morning video interviewing my students on about their favorite art project: junk art (for a presentation bout it Friday at a conference). The project involves making art from random recycled stuff, no plan. Just junk art. The kids go batshit crazy for this, and beg to do it constantly. Why do you like it so much? I was asking them. "Because you get to make whatever we want, and you never know what you're going to make ahead of time." is the answer i got over and over and over again. Everything else in their day is filled with the oppressive expectation of a plan and of a checklist of knowing they are supposed to complete. ugh. hmmm... maybe we are hard-wired to love the adventure of the unknown??? kids don't seem to have a problem with the state of not knowing. "it's a home for my imagination!" one student said about starting a project with no idea at all of where it's going. "it lets our creativity flow," another boy said. maybe our love of not-knowing gets trained out of us by too much schooling where it's all planned out for us. maybe not knowing is the natural state of human experience, and we just forget how totally delightful that can be. thanks for you post... i'm going to go try to un-knot my plans and un-know the rest of this day :)

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