One of my favorite wind-down activities? Reading all the made-for-teen dystopian future novels. I read and watched Divergent a few months back, and a particular lesson I learned from that series still replays in my head on the daily.
Like most of these novels, teens are the heroes and at the center of the story. At one point in the movie, all of the teens are told to jump off of a building as part of their initiation to their “faction”. They have no clue how tall the building is or what’s at the bottom. They just have a scary, pierced-eyebrow 20-something yelling at them to jump if they want to be part of their community. Everyone’s looking at each other like “this is crazy…”, and then the lead character Tris volunteers to go first.
She closes her eyes, and she jumps. She falls. Further and further and further. She’s scared out of her mind. And then finally – poof – she lands in a huge net. She laughs.
I had such an ah-ha moment watching this. Tris had no idea what was at the bottom. But she trusted that it would be OK. She figured that they obviously weren’t heading towards mass suicide, so there must be *something* that would catch them. Maybe it was water. Maybe foam blocks. Maybe a net, or a pit of balloons. Maybe she learns she can fly! Who knows?
She doesn’t know the outcome but she trusts that it will be a positive one.
DAMN. That is powerful stuff. There are similar instances throughout the film: no one knows the exact solution, but they trust that they have the skills necessary to succeed, or even thrive.
When we approach a hard situation, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities, the unknowables. We’re paralyzed because we want more information (usually information that we can’t gather). But a major aspect of hope is to believe that you can overcome the obstacles. We trust ourselves enough to know it will be OK, even if we don’t know the *exact* solution.
This lesson has made it’s way into my daily journaling by way of the reminder “Trust > Certainty”, or trust is greater than certainty. I don’t need to know EXACTLY how everything will be solved, but I do have to trust in my ability to do it.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.