“Who can wait in stillness while the mud settles?” – Lao Tzu, c. 6th century BCE
“Don’t ask me, I don’t know.” – Ozzy Osbourne, c. 1980
It’s been a busy year. And it seems like the current pace of life – either hyper-accelerated or painfully slow, depending on your perspective – will continue for the foreseeable future.
There’s a steady stream of issues demanding our attention; domestic governance, destabilized international relationships, collusion and corruption, war and terrorism, sexual harassment, racial and gender inequality, even sports and entertainment scandals. It splits focus and heightens misunderstanding, and it’s causing a lot of second-guessing: What do I think about X? How should I respond to Y? Is it OK to say Z in public?
Whatever current crisis inspired you to ask them, these questions all point to a deeper concern: Are my core beliefs still valid? Am I allowed to just be me? Can I speak my mind without fear?
The answer to all of these is Yes. Don’t doubt what you believe, even if it goes against popular sentiment or prevailing trends. The news cycle ebbs and flows. It’s reporting followed by analysis followed by more reporting. While it makes for fascinating drama in the moment, in the long view much of it will reveal itself to be knee-jerk reactions and superficial distractions.
There will always be contrarians who find a way to stir the pot about every little thing from protest marches to Oscar nominations. Stay focused on the big picture. Don’t let temporary turbulence sway your course or your resolve.
Progress takes many forms, and takes as long as it takes. It requires patience and often, small steps. Try to appreciate the incremental changes, and don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good as you work for change.