“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it” -David Starr Jordan
Have you ever felt so frustrated with your inability to do something that you committed to doing nothing else until you figured it out?
I have done this many times before.
I’ve confined myself to a chair, trying to force inspiration to form into written words when it just wasn’t happening. I have sat around intellectualizing about which decision I should make—as if the act of thinking really hard for hours on end would somehow make it easier to accept that the future is uncertain, and nothing is guaranteed.
Essentially, I’ve many times chosen to put pressure on myself to do something really well, and effectively ended up doing nothing. Now, by “doing nothing,” I’m not talking about meditating to find clarity in stillness and silence. I’m talking about doing nothing physically, while exhausting myself mentally.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you’ve also pushed yourself because you felt impatient with your process, creative or otherwise. Or maybe you’ve felt so paralyzed by things you can’t control that you’ve sat around trying to think your way around them.
There’s nothing wrong with using our capacity for reasoning—in fact, it’s a smart plan, on the whole. But generally, we form our best insights and strongest ideas when we release the mental pressure and engage ourselves in the world, in mind and body.
I know I generally feel most inspired when I actively choose to get out of my head and let ideas come to me, as a natural byproduct of connecting with the world—whether that means hiking, practicing yoga, or simply being with friends.
I have found that for every wise saying, there is an opposite one that is equally true. Sometimes we need to let go; sometimes we need to hold on. Sometimes we need to be patient; sometimes we need to push forward. Sometimes we need to be still; sometimes we need to get moving.
Wisdom is recognizing which is true for us individually in each moment.
Is it time for you to get moving?
Photo by Atsuhiko Tagagi