Essays humor inspiration motivation

The Next Step

The next step isn’t always clear.

What an understatement.

Motivated people always know where they are going, the voice in my head tells me.

Nope. Wrong. Turns out we all must live with uncertainty. Talking to others more than I have in the past has served to underline this truth of daily existence.

Uncertainty is a driver. The question is: How do I keep it from driving me nuts?

Best way to beat it, I’ve found, is to stay connected to my family (thank God it’s functional) and to surround myself with people striving for the same goals. A community of like-minded people. I’m being deliberately vague here. Everyone has his or her unique tribe.

Most days I have a certain set of goals to accomplish. Some small. Some not so small. I always leave at least a little time to make it up as I go along. Some days are broad canvases waiting to be painted with…whatever. Other days are jam packed with things to do. Most of my days are consumed with a combination of survival needs and creative projects crying for attention.

Twenty years ago, I made the transition from the binding ties of a corporate job to the freedom of planning my days according to what I wanted to do.

Most people dream of this freedom, but I’ve learned that it comes with a price. Freedom is worthless without a purpose.

Without purpose, my mind wanders into bad neighborhoods. Worry. Anxiety. Depression. You know what I’m talking about.

I’ve discovered that my purpose changes as I change. I am like a sea captain adjusting my course as my inner landscape changes. My course also changes depending upon the feedback I get in response to my actions.

If I can’t get over an obstacle, I get around it. If I can’t do either, I find something else to do. When it becomes painfully obvious that I’ve hit a dead end, it’s time to move on.

There is a fine line between quitting and wisdom.

Recently, I had to admit to myself that, after spending twenty years writing screenplays and novels, it was no longer in my wheel house to do it. It hurt deeply to come to this conclusion. Once I got over myself, I realized that I’m much happier writing blogs to people who can appreciate them. I hope that’s you. I’m doing this for both of us.

Life is full of challenges. At this point, I believe the central point of human existence is to set up positive challenges as much as humanly possible. I don’t look for trouble. I try not to create unnecessary problems. Life is already hard enough, thank you very much.

Creating positive challenges helps to relieve my anxiety. They also take my mind off of the uncertainty.

I listen to my heart. I accept my needs and limitations. I move forward from where I am.

Still, the future remains stubbornly uncertain. All I am given is today. Let me make the most of it. I wish the same for you.

By David Gittlin

I’ve written three feature length screenplays, produced two short films, and published three novels. Before quitting my day job, I spent more than thirty years as a marketing director building expertise in advertising, copy writing, corporate communications, collateral sales materials, website content/design and online marketing.

For more information about my novels, please visit

10 replies on “The Next Step”

You are wise to set some big and small goals AND to leave some leeway to make it up as you go. I have only recently become able to do what I want to do and I love it! I’ve never thought about it before but most of my days follow the same pattern – some big and small goals and lots of free time to fill in on the spur of the moment.

Liked by 1 person

“Without purpose, my mind wanders into bad neighborhoods.” Indeed. Some very bad neighborhoods. This post resonates with me and is clear cut and to the point. I’m still in corporate America and want to transition toward this “freedom” but as you mentioned…freedom without purpose could be a disaster waiting to happen. How did you find your tribe? Do you always look for your tribe? Is your tribe big or small? Do you sense immediately when someone is destined to become part of your tribe? Have you ever been rejected from a tribe?

Liked by 2 people

Hi Anna. Thanks for your comment. Maybe I can define the word tribe more in terms of finding the place where I belong at this time. I don’t like everyone in the tribe, but I know and feel I belong in this place with these people now. It has to do with my soul’s destiny. There are times when I am “between tribes” and these times are, let’s just say, no fun. When I feel adrift, I keep looking for the next way station. I believe deep down that the next place is there and I will find it. Prayer and positive affirmations are very useful at times like these. And thankfully, the next place of sanctuary has always shown up.

It helps enormously to feel connected to people and a purpose that supports my evolution. It seems to me that this applies to everyone. I hope my response helps. Take care and be well.


I dunno if everyone is the same, but I know for me that purpose really makes me enjoy life. as for decided whether to stop pursuing a purpose, that takes a lot of courage & self-honesty. I commend you, David

Liked by 1 person

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