Mario Andretti once said if everything feels under control you’re not going fast enough. Those words come to mind for me a lot because it’s true, I prove it to myself time and time again. Gravitating towards a sense of security, indulging in my strange need to feel in control, I inevitably end up starving for chaos. I never really forget about it but it comes to the forefront of my mind every time I’m at an impasse as or each time I start to feel like I’ve got a handle on things.
If you think too much about what you’re writing, whether it’s fiction, journal entries, or blog posts, you’re going to slow yourself down. Over and over it’s going to bring everything to a dead halt. I know, believe me. Been there done that; in fact every time I write it’s almost like if I slow down, think too much about the words rolling off my fingertips, I’ll stall out. It’s happened more times than I can ever hope to count, and it’s not just with writing.
If you feel in control you’re not going fast enough. Meeting people, sending out job applications, performing to a crowd of thousands, it applies to you. If you’re writing a book, grinding out a chapter at a time, it applies. If you’re racing on the track, on foot or in a car, it applies just as much. I can speak to racing on foot since I was on the track team in junior high and Andretti himself spoke to the latter one.
So if you’re feeling stuck, uncertain, comfortable, or just bored, take your fucking foot off the brake. Get moving, get reckless, do something and don’t worry about how it plays out. Let other people worry. Or, if you’re like me, allow yourself short periods of reflection. But then make a move and make that action your priority. Experiment, fuck around, just do it. Do what you want, whatever makes you feel more alive. Don’t worry about how it looks.
Feeling like you’re in control is a sign of decay more than anything else, so don’t trust it to do anything useful. At best it’ll comfort you while you rot in place. Don’t worry about whether you’ve got things under control. Worry about whether you’re moving towards what you want, and if you’re not then let off the fucking brakes and go.