Engage With The Unknown
How do we train ourselves to to sit with tension, rather than avoid it by any means necessary?
How do we engage with the unknown and the uncomfortable?
How do we bring ourselves to tackle the questions that don’t have bite sized answers?
Is our culture placing an emphasis on being politically correct because it’s really the right thing to do, or have we adopted the idea that some things shouldn’t be discussed because those conversations are troubling? I know I’ll often go to extremes to avoid a difficult conversation. Is that what’s happening all around us?
I think about the old saying that in polite company it’s not proper to talk about religion or politics. Does this also extend from the perspective that these subjects might raise questions that don’t have clear-cut answers or where it’s hard to reach a consensus?
As Naval Ravikant says “Truth is not determined by consensus or popularity— usually, it’s quite the opposite.”
Now more than ever, is the time to have conversations that challenge us and our beliefs about the world. There is much we still don’t understand and drawing each other into a conversation is more productive than attempts to sweep any inkling of tension under the rug.
Consider the questions we might ask:
- “I have trouble understanding this topic the way that you do. What might I be missing?”
- “You’ve got a strong opinion about [the topic]. Where did it come from – is there a story behind that?”
Buried within the tension, the discomfort, is truth. It can take patience and resilience to hold ourselves in the ‘unknown zone’ until it surfaces – but once it does, the truth is yours to share.
Even the smallest truths are powerful and humbling. They can change how we see and act in the world.
“Lean into discomfort, because I think these seemingly impossible problems that we have around race and homophobia and the environment, and just the lack of love sometimes, are not going to be solved in a comfortable way…So I guess my ask would be more of a big metaphysical ask: Give vulnerability a shot. Give discomfort its due. Because I think he or she who is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest, but rises the fastest.”
– Brene Brown