Why are we obsessed with knowing all the details?

Why are we obsessed with knowing all the details?

Do you often catch yourself obsessing over details around a decision to the point where you feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by the process? 

I was in the thick of moving across the country to Vancouver just a few short months ago, and everything in my life was up in the air. I needed to find a place to live with only virtual viewings. I was navigating moving in with my partner for the first time. Getting everything packed, organized, and shipped—one morning I found myself unable to process any more, and I just sat down on my bed and couldn’t do anything for a while.

That was me in the throes of processing a lot of uncertainty. I felt trapped in a whirlwind, with so much up in the air. And on top of it all, I still didn’t have an actual place lined up in Vancouver yet! 

I felt out of control and without a home base. Uprooted.

Why do we look for certainty instead of embracing mystery? 

What I’ve come to realize is the more we can appreciate that there are certain unknowns and things outside of our control, the less we have a need to be certain about everything. The best part is when we let go of certainty, we create space for possibility. Instead of one predictable outcome, we open ourselves up to all kinds of options. 

And that’s exactly what happened. 

I reframed the fear I was feeling in the face of the unknown into excitement about the new space and possibility opening up in my life. My partner and I discussed what our nonnegotiables were in a new place, what we needed, what would be nice to have, what we absolutely didn't want. And guess what? When we got crystal clear on our vision for our future, we found the perfect condo!

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Here’s a little practice you can use to help integrate this into your daily life: 

Notice your need to know everything. Ask yourself why you feel that need. Is it from a place of fear? Control? What are you afraid to lose? Take 10 minutes and journal about this.

Imagine what it would feel like to be free from that need or reflex. 

Now, make a conscious choice this week to choose differently. Practice letting go of small things first. 

Maybe you start with small instances of perfectionism. Do you need to control every detail? Do you need to redo something someone else did differently or tell someone how to do something your way?

You could notice how you talk to yourself when things don’t go exactly as you’d planned. Ask yourself, “Why do I need to control everything?” Notice your tendency to over plan or map out everything first. See what happens when you leave room for surprises.

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Make a note of all the things that happened this week that you couldn’t have predicted. 

Try again with something scarier next time. 🙂 

How often do you look for certainty? How can you lean into the possibilities beckoning you right now? Reply in the comments and let me know.

Your friend in this journey together,


P.S. Check out my new Possibility Coaching package. If you're in a fog and feel like you need guidance through some missteps in your life, we can work together to focus on your values, vision, and purpose; finding a healthy work/life balance; refining your movement and creative rituals; and forming habits to manage and redefine stress. I have a few open spots starting in August!

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