What Do You Know for Sure?

What do you know for sure?" Oprah asks in a recent email.
(I like to pretend she sends it to me directly). This is a terrific question to ponder and to ask yourself, your friends, family and your clients.

There are a few things I know for sure and many things I would like to know for sure. For instance, I would like to know for sure is that I will be on Oprah with our new book coming out, Courage and Croissants. This is where I begin to skate on thinner ice between knowing for sure and doing the footwork to make it happen, for sure.

In Oprah’s online magazine she posted a variety of responses from famous authors and people she admired. One of my favorites, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, and Love answers the question by stating, “I try to go easy on firm conclusions… and try to settle for 85% of firm conclusions most of the time.”  Her answer aligns with my own sense of having what I call “fuzzy control.” Total control never works and often backfires, but having a sense of “fuzzy control” allows me to focus on the creative aspects of my work versus worrying about it.

In thinking about this question, I realize we need some sureties so that we don’t have to rethink every decision we make. Interestingly enough, most of our sureties however, fall into two categories; what we know today—I own a nice home, I have a nice family, I have a job and those that are beliefs based on facts, knowledge, likes and dislikes and perception – the earth is round, chocolate tastes good, flowers need water. .

Our certainties of what we know for sure for today need to be appreciated, admired, and treasured. Our certainties of our beliefs allow us not to worry about falling off the face of the earth or how that electricity will light up our homes and offices and communities. But the best part of knowing 85% (in Elizabeth Gilbert’s words) is that the other 15% allows us to be open to possibilities, creative solutions, surprises, and opportunities. 

I like knowing things for sure, but I also love the idea that we don’t. This is the fun part of life that challenges us, inspires us, and surprises us with simple joy.

One thing I do know for sure is that our thoughts make a difference in how we feel our future possibilities and achieving what we want in life. If we know this for sure, imagine what we can create and how we can shape our lives for the future.

So for the 15 or so percent of what you don’t know for sure, allow yourself to dream, create, and make life what you want it to be.