The journey to true knowledge

When you are facing difficult life decisions, what makes it challenging is the inability to see the final outcome of each decision you are weighing. Pondering only produces endless possibilities that increases anxiety and confusion, because even when you construct models in your head, the probability of something else happening other than what you thought out heightens your tension.

Yet you must act because you know from experience that when you hesitate for too long, circumstances eventually force your hand into a decision. And any compulsory decision will always be more painful than a voluntary one. Thus you stand before the crossroad of life, in the crucible of the real experiencing. Here no social media catchphrases or memorized self-help quotes will resolve the trial. Here you must live through the raw experiences and navigate the incessantly moving cogwheels of circumstances without seeing a final outcome, like sailing in a blinding storm with no land in sight.

It is when we live through this process with its highs and lows, joys and sorrows, laughs and scars, and then reach the other end that we gain true life knowledge. No matter how many books we read, degrees we have, or catch phrases we memorize, the real knowledge is in the vivid experiencing which is often messy and dynamic, just like toddlers who gain a knowledge of the physical world during the messy years of clumsy trial and error. With adults, we avoid the chaotic and want the “polished” experience to attain knowledge in order to protect our vanity and image. But we will hardly reap success this way.

So the more knowing a person is, the more deeply did experiences have to cut into their inner being. There is no way around it but through it. If we want real knowledge, we have to act, experience, and live through the process of challenges. Only when we reach the other end and dust-off the dirt from the battle, can we offer a polished phrase that expresses the knowledge gained from our journey. Yet whose finished neatness contrasts sharply when the reality of actual journey. Only then have we gained a real knowledge of something because we have lived through the entire stretch of a road of a life decision.

If you are amid such an experience, keep your gaze upward and keep walking forward.

~Dr. Ikenna Q. Ezealah

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