Curt Rosengren on Passionate Work
'The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.'
- Erich Fromm
Do you want to live a mediocre life? I have an easy formula that will all but guarantee that mediocrity: Seek certainty in all that you do.
I'm a firm believer that you can't do anything great and feel a constant state of certainty. The two are like oil and water. Greatness requires stretching beyond the comfortable confines of what's immediately within reach. And when you stretch like that, uncertainty is the inevitable result. (That greatness is whatever you define it to be, whether the kind that goes down in the history books, or simply a life juicily, exquisitely, beautifully lived.)
A constant feeling of certainty is also a pretty good sign that you've hit a rut and no growth is happening. The very structure that creates that certainty also blocks out the new.
Uncertainty on the other hand, while often uncomfortable, is fertile ground for something new to take root. It breaks apart the old way of seeing things and makes room for new possibilities.
I wish I could say that I always embrace uncertainty without reserve. I don't. Sometimes I loathe it and want nothing more than to feel 100% certain all the time. But I know there is too much I want to do and experience, and too much life I want to live. So for the most part, I accept that uncertainty as the price I have to pay to squeeze as much as I can out of the time I have here in this world.