Sometime in 2014, two famous men walked into a recording studio. They were working on a rap album, but at this particular moment they were talking about marriage.
The first man was someone you would expect to be working on a rap album. His real name was Olubowale Akintimehin, but he is better known as the hip-hop artist Wale (pronounced WAH-lay). The second man was someone you would never expect to be working on a rap album, the popular comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
Wale was partnering with Seinfeld for his fourth album, The Album About Nothing. During this particular session, he brought Seinfeld into the studio to ask him questions, record their conversation, and hopefully grab a few soundbites for the album.
While working on a track called The Matrimony, Wale questioned Seinfeld about his thoughts on marriage. At first, Seinfeld talked about what it felt like to get engaged. He explained the combination of excitement and nervousness and helplessness that made engagement feel like being strapped into a rollercoaster headed to the top of the hill where the marriage awaits.
Wale paused for a moment, looked at Seinfeld, and said, “So, even if you make plans you never think you’re really ready for marriage?” 1
“No,” Seinfeld said. “It’s like any growth. You can’t be ready for it because it’s growth. It’s going to be new. You’re going to have a new life. You’re going to be a new person.”
You’re Not Ready for Growth
I like Seinfeld’s definition of growth. You’re not ready for marriage. You’re not ready to start a business. You’re not ready to move to a new city. You’re not ready for growth … and that’s exactly why it will make you grow. Start before you feel ready.
By definition, growth must be something that makes you feel unprepared and uncertain. If it was comfortable and easy, it wouldn’t be growth. It would be normal. It would be standard. It would be who you already are.
There will never be a perfect time to do something that stretches you. That’s true whether you are starting a marriage, having your first child, changing careers, or wrestling with any number of challenging goals. That’s not a license to be reckless and never think things through, but at some point you have to embrace the uncertainty because it is the only path forward.
You can’t be ready for true growth. That’s why it’s growth. All you can do is step into it with everything you’ve got.
You can watch the clip of Seinfeld and Wale talking here.