[ARTICLE]

Nobody Knows What The Hell They Are Doing. @99u

And the truth, deep down, is that we all feel as though we’re just winging it. “I have written 11 books,” said the late Maya Angelou, who was renowned as a novelist, poet, and memoirist, “but each time, I think ‘Uh-oh. They’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.’” Angelou was a remarkable talent, but she was equally remarkable in being willing to admit that she didn’t usually feel that way.

 

do know what the hell I’m doing, but I also don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I wouldn’t bother trying to communicate what I think I know if I didn’t think I know something that’d be helpful for others to know. The implicit tension is that my knowing is provisional. In as much as I am able to acknowledge the provisional nature of my knowing I stave off certitude. Certitude isn’t about the thing known, it’s about me and my claim to knowing.

My claim to knowing tends to be fuelled by the myth of the lone genius which is in turn prone to self gratifying expression. Self gratifying expression coming from the lone-genius-wannabe part of me, the part that’s in love with the idea of being an artist rather than being in love with making art, is dangerously prone to certitude.

The better I get at seeing certitude in myself and others the less prone I’ll be to confuse certitude with confidence, skill or excellence. The less I confuse those things the better I’ll be able to navigate the “the edgy, nervous feeling that you might be swimming out of your depth” and remember “everyone else is feeling it, too.”