A statement said so often it is assumed to be true is this: Everyone is totally just winging it, all the time. So says Oliver Burkeman. He even backs it up with examples.
I can see why it is so appealing. If you feel that you are always winging it, then thinking everyone else is doing the same makes you feel less alone. It’s also comforting if you have imposter syndrome.
But there’s two facts and a lie:
- some people wing it all of the time (Fact)
- all people wing it some of the time (Fact)
- all people wing it all of the time (Lie)
In fact, most adults have expertise in fields and wing it none of the time. Surgeons, bankers, bus drivers, grocery staff…you name it, they know what they are doing most if not all the time. We expect that of them and they deliver. Even young parents go from winging it to being confident and capable most of the time. As humans, being in control makes us feel more comfortable and confident and makes those around us feel that way too.
It’s fine to wing it from time to time. It’s how we learn and grow. But don’t kid yourself: all people are not winging it all the time. Chances are, you aren’t either.
(Picture is of someone definitely not winging it.)
According to this, art can make us more confident by providing us with stories and representations of people with characteristics we share that overcome similar obstacles that we run up against. After all….
Confidence isn’t the belief that we won’t meet obstacles. It is the recognition that difficulties are an inescapable part of all worthwhile contributions. We need to ensure we have to hand plenty of narratives that normalise the role of pain, anxiety and disappointment in even the best and most successful lives.
The image is an extended version of the work highlighted in the article. Like the Stations of the Cross and other works, they illustrate the difficulties of a way of life, and by making us aware of them, allow us to best prepare to meet them and overcome them.
Over the last year or so, I’ve found these worthwhile pieces on how to think about life and how to improve it. If you find one of these worthwhile and it improves your life as a result of you reading it, then I think collecting and writing about these is worthwhile.
- If you are feeling lonely and want to understand and deal with it better, consider this: The Science of Loneliness: How Isolation Can Kill You – New Republic
- One idea you can consider: talk to strangers. Hello, Stranger – NYTimes.com
- If you need new ways to live a better life, courtesy of a famous person….7 Steps to Living a Bill Murray Life – Vulture
- Or if you like to write, try to improve your life via writing: Writing Your Way to Happiness – NYTimes.com (I am guessing some writers would not agree with it)
- If you struggle to be happy, this could help: Everyone wants to be happy. Almost everyone is going about it wrong. – Vox
- If you want to be more optimistic, consider the big picture, presented here: A Cockeyed Optimist – NYTimes.com
- If you think you are working too much and are often thinking of cutting back, this could help you: Keynes’ 15 Hour Work Week Is Here Right Now
- Lots of good ideas via a collected stream of tweets, here: Things @GhostfaceKnitta Learned in 2015 (with tweets) · valerieinto · Storify
- Why should you give away money and be happier: Giving money away makes us happy. Then why do so few of us do it? – Vox
- Don’t hesitate when it comes to improving your life. You have less time than you think. See this to see why: These graphics will make you rethink your life – Tech Insider
- Being laid off will happen to everyone. If that’s you now, and you are struggling with it, consider: Advice For the Recently Laid Off – Medium
- Self Confidence makes for a better life. Here’s how to become that way and more so: The Truth On How To Become Self Confident
- Change your mind, change your life. How? One way: Rewire your brain: Why Practice Makes Perfect: How to Rewire Your Brain for Performance
- If you struggle with your thoughts (e.g., worry too much), read : BBC – Future – Why we should stop worrying about our wandering minds
- Sometimes the way to improve our lives is not to have more, but to seek less and not be caught up in the trappings of status. To live a simpler life, like this: Here’s why one of the world’s richest men wears hand-me-down clothes – The Washington Post
- More on how to live with less. Living With Less. A Lot Less. – The New York Times
(Image from one of the articles linked to on NYTimes.com)