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Not Knowing Any Better

November 3, 2020

In 2008, I helped start a business with three of my friends.

It was a study abroad organization. In other words, we created a global travel company that was based on asking people to use their disposable income to take trips to interesting places around the world. And just to clarify, this was started in the middle of the Great Recession, which is now considered the longest period of economic decline since the Great Depression. I distinctly remember people telling us we were crazy.

I’m going to be honest with you: It never occurred to me that it was a bad time to start a company. Want to know the craziest part? The business was successful! As Pearl Buck famously said, “The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible—and achieve it, generation after generation.”

I’m glad I didn’t know any better.

Twelve years later, we are living in the midst of a pandemic. It has been a hard year. Our social lives have been dismantled, our communities feel more divided than ever, and our economy has been uncertain. This season has impacted all of us psychologically, emotionally, and financially. It’s drawn many people to fear. It seems like every week I talk to more people who are basing important decisions on this fear. Surrounded by pundits and prognosticators, they are more focused on their circumstances than their calling. 

However, this might be the exact time to face your fear head on. I believe there are real benefits to taking on something challenging during a time of adversity. There are benefits to being a recent college graduate at the start of an economic recession, like I was in 2008.

There are even benefits to being a little naive about the potential pitfalls of trying something new.


Now, I’m not going to give you the five steps to pursuing your calling in a pandemic, but I do have one piece of advice for you: turn down the noise. If your newsfeed is keeping you from doing what you need to do, exercise some willful ignorance and turn off your notifications for a while. Sometimes, it’s better to not know any better. 

Consider this question: What is something you know you need to do, but you’re afraid to do it right now?

Maybe you’ve said something like this:
I’m going to get married once I get this business off the ground.
I’ll have kids once I can afford the perfect house for our family.
I’ll start writing when I can get a little more free-time during the day.
I’m going to start saving money when I get my next raise.
I’ll start giving when I have a cushion in my bank account.

Maybe it’s time to take that first step. 

There’s never going to be a perfect time to do anything. If you’re waiting on the perfect time to do something, you will never do what you were created to do. 

I believe there is someone reading this today who needs this reminder. It may be time for you to try something new in spite of your present circumstances.


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