Clarity Comes from Action

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Until you try strawberries you don’t know how they taste, you can only imagine.

When I was 18 I had to decide what I wanted to study, and ultimately what I wanted to become. It’s a great deal of responsibility to take this decision and it creates pressure for all those who don’t have a clue. As far as I remember I was never passionate about a specific thing. I liked many things and didn’t love anything. So I decided the way I always did: by sheer common sense and listening to others. The only “talent” I identified in myself and heard people say were languages. I was bilingual in two and good at a third one… in monolingual country you’re basically a superstar. The second decision was if I become a teacher or a translator/interpreter. In the Czech Republic it’s not difficult to get accepted to a university/faculty specialised on Pedagogics. But it used to be damn hard to pass the entrance exams for the Charles University in Prague and its Translation Institute. The number of students interested in studying Czech-English translation and interpreting was around 700. The acceptance rate around 35. As I love intellectual challenges I was one year improving my English and working hard on myself, and was fortunate to be among the 5% of those who succeeded. Superstar 2.0 loading …

Did I like translating? I didn’t know. I couldn’t know, as I had never learned how to translate and had zero practice. I just thought it may be something for me. Well, it wasn’t. I took more time to get a translation done than the Spanish to build a new government. The result was so bad that when the teacher read it out loud I wanted to bury my head in the sand. Before the interpretation seminars I felt sick and during the class I just hoped it wouldn’t be my turn. I was told it was unacceptable for an interpreter not to know almost every thing happening in the world, shameful not to know all American presidents or all German “Bundesländer” and “Bundeskanzler”. I knew it was a matter of time when I didn’t know another “important” information and Superstar 2.0 would die.

I was considering the pros and cons before entering this degree. I thought I would enjoy my studies. Now I know that this leads to nowhere. I learned that you can only know if you’ll enjoy something when you do it. Or, as Marie Forleo puts it in one of her interviews, “clarity comes from engagement, not thought”. This is such an important lesson. It can take a lot of pressure off your shoulders. You don’t feel guilty anymore when you did not like something you thought you would. On the other hand, you may get pumped up about something you never thought you’d like until you tried it.

Perhaps you’re asking yourself questions like…

Would I like to be employed or a freelancer? You can put down pros and cons, but unless you try both you can’t know for sure.

Is a MacBook worth its price or should I stick to Windows? Go to the Apple Store and see, ask, touch, try… (but don’t blame me later for going home with one ;-)).

This girl… does she like me?  If you don’t make the first step and ask her, you may never know.

Many of us spend too much time overthinking. Take action and you’ll get clarity.

And don’t feel guilty for having made a wrong decision if you did not have the information at the time you took the decision. (You had to read this last sentence twice, I know).