I want to talk about what a big role faith plays in learning something new.  

Whenever I’ve committed to learning something substantial (or really, doing anything substantial) I’ve come to a point where I really didn’t know if I could do it.  

What do you do then? What do I do then?

You must plow forward blindly.  You must advance without assurances, without information.  You must keep going.  I must keep going. 

This is a profoundly *uncomfortable* place to be in.  It’s especially uncomfortable if a lot of your personal and professional identity is based on being The Smart One, because you will most assuredly feel very, very stupid.  Stupid because you haven’t learned it already, and stupid for choosing this particular thing to learn or do.  

I am not a believer (I regret this and miss the religious faith I once had, as God was a most excellent box in which to place such worries), and so I must simply bull my way through that stage.   What does really help is the encouragement of others.  So? Ask for it.  If you’re stuck, and you don’t know if you should go forward but you don’t want to give up, ask for encouragement.  You’ll get it.  People all over the place will tell you not to give up, and you can and you must treat their voice as the voice of God, redirected through the mouths of ordinary people.  

About Me

Lisa Williams

Founder of | Winner of Knight News Challenge | Center for Civic Media, MIT Media Lab | Cambridge, MA | @lisawilliams on Twitter | lisawilliams on Github