Charles Owens mug

Charles Owens

“Just take a leap of faith.” I’m sure you have heard that old saying plenty of times before in life.

However, it is a lot easier said than done. In fact, the older you get in life, the harder it is to blindly take a leap of faith into the unknown.

In fact, a bad experience or two in life can often keep you from taking the proverbial plunge. It’s not that you don’t want to act or take a big risk, it is instead a matter of simply taking your time to carefully consider all of the pros and cons of a situation before taking that next big step, whatever it might be.

Sometimes you just have to take a little bit of time to think things out before taking the proverbial leap of faith.

And sometimes you can spend too much time thinking about it. Sometimes you can lose sleep over something if you spend too much time mulling over it. That has happened to me on a number of occasions.

Most people have probably been burned a time or two in life. A bad big-ticket purchase. A bad relationship. Agreeing to a deal that sounded good at first only to quickly fall apart when you start reading the fine print. A career decision that didn’t work out as planned. A financial investment that proved to be costly. And the list of examples can go on and on. 

Sometimes when one particular experience in life is so excruciatingly bad, a person can often feel overly compelled to ensure that he or she doesn’t make the same mistake twice. I won’t get into specific details here, but let’s just say that I had one of those absolutely awful experiences a few years ago. And sadly, it now forces me to carefully — sometimes painstakingly — evaluate certain future decisions to the point of nearly overthinking things.

But that’s now a part of who I am. You live and learn. And if you are smart, you make the best possible effort to avoid making the same mistake over again in life.

It’s not always easy. Some things are simply out of our control. As Charlie Boothe will often say in his weekly columns, there is no need to stress over those things that we have no control over.

But some things we do have a small, or measured degree of control, over. Or at the very least, we can work to ensure that our now and present circumstances are satisfactory. No one knows what the future may bring, of course. Sometimes you think you have everything under control, but then an unexpected surprise arrives. You can only control what you can control. After that it does require a leap of faith and a hope that things will be OK.

Here in 2020, I can certainly say that I’ve done a lot of thinking about decisions that I have a small level of control over. You have to try and think about the future during times like what we are living in right now.

But the more time I spend thinking, the more I realize that the world around me has seemingly gone mad. People aren’t taking the time to carefully think things out. Some people are making impulsive decisions and big-ticket, life-changing purchases, without any degree of proper thought or planning. Some are choosing to ignore the concept of a pandemic all-together. They act like everything is normal. But it’s been a far from normal year.

There are a lot of things that we need to think about moving forward. When will the virus go away? Will violence, looting and riots continue in our streets? Who is going to win the presidential election in November, and what will the outcome of that election mean for America? Will we all be expected  to take a vaccine sometime this winter or early next year?

Sadly, these are still uncertain times. There is much we have to think about — whether we actually want to or not.

— Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at Follow him @BDTOwens

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