F.O.C.U.S.: U is for the Unknown
by Thad Burkamper
August 15, 2019

There’s a something that follows me round
Whether staying at home or ‘round town
Even though I do try
To glimpse with my eyes
The nothing or something’s never found
As I went for a walk in the woods
I heard behind me some leaves under foot
Could it be man or bear
Or the movement of the air
Though I’ll never know which, I’ll stay put

Fear of the unknown is a peculiar beast that seems to take its toll on each person a bit differently. I, for better or worse, rarely spend much time contemplating what lies ahead because I’ve been given the gift of a look at my own mortality. Others will spend the majority of their lives considering all that could go wrong or right, and when those things could or could not happen, to the point that though their thoughts take them to great heights and depths of fantasy, they do little to move within their lives in reality.

The unknown can be a paralytic. Often times, our imaginations get the best of us and the reality of what lies ahead is much less significant than what we’ve dreamt up.

If you haven’t caught on by now, let me bring you up to speed. We dealt with the fear of failure that we’ve reconditioned to an opportunity to learn and become better, and the fear of obstacles as a test within which we will either succeed due to creativity, adaptation, or preparation, or fail. Failure isn’t to be feared anymore, so obstacles, in either outcome, are good.

Criticism is a gift that we only accept when we can learn, grow, or prepare from it. Criticism, as we understand now, is an obstacle. Obstacles are good. Now we arrive at the unknown. The unknown can only be boiled down to another obstacle and obstacles, as we have discussed, are good.

The unknown seems much scarier than it is. The unknown will either be an obstacle that you’ve prepared for or not. Either way, we know now that you will either shine or be given a future opportunity to shine. All of this remains true as long as you grow. All of this remains true as long as you learn. All of this remains true as long as you continue onward.

Yes, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to dust yourself off. Yes, there will be obstacles to trip you up. Yes, there are those who will say it’s not worth it, it’s not possible, or you’re not capable. And, yes, there will be surprises along with way that you had no idea you’d need to prepare for. Keep your peripherals tuned to them. Keep your eyes on the goal. And nothing, even the unknown, can stop you. Only you can stop you, so don’t.

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