Like many generations and moments in history, the current times are chock full of uncertainty. Pick up any newspaper with its plethora of articles that can put you in an anxious tailspin. Shifting Teutonic plates in world politics point to the unstable, ever changing world we live in having even less certainties. Human beings are wired for control and predictability. Most of us are uncomfortable with uncertainty. How then do we deal with doubt and the unknown?
Thumb through your personal history of lessons learned and achievements accomplished. Those rites of passage that you completed, leaving home for either college or a job or getting out of an unhealthy relationship. Each of these experiences were shrouded in uncertainty. Much of life can be riddled with thoughts of the unknown. Learning to widen your world and staying centered helps you to be more comfortable with uncertainty.
Taking risks, getting uncomfortable helps you grow. If you never dared to cross into unchartered territory, you would remain sheltered and ultimately your endless potential would be unfulfilled. One way to view uncertainty through a different lens is to sharpen your inner strengths with the knife-edge of change. Seeding your personal or professional potential means stepping into the unknown. Every known was an unknown at some point in life. Julien Smith, CEO and author wrote: “You will never be entirely comfortable. This is the truth behind the champion – he/she is always fighting something. To do otherwise is to settle.” My reiteration of this quote is that by embracing uncertainty you mentally, physically, and spiritually continue to evolve and grow.
When we begin to make positive personal change, just like learning a new instrument, we must practice. Uncertainty puts our steadfastness to the test; it provides a space where you can apply the newfound insight or lesson. For example, if you’re learning to walk through life with less negativity, you’ll relish in the joy of success only after you’ve applied this new habit on an unplanned, unpleasant experience. Once that ability to turn a negative to a positive is implemented time and time again, it becomes easier and is at your disposal during every uncertain turn in life. By growing your inner capabilities, navigating the ever-changing world is less scary. Building on past successes, helps you remember that getting out of your comfort zone keeps you dynamic.
Differentiating between being committed to your inner core values and changing with the times also helps us see uncertainty with steadfast confidence. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Change is imminent, it happens whether we want it to or not. Recognizing those necessary changes that will improve your inner and outer world will allow you to see the future with a sense of excitement. Flexibility in letting go of outdated ways of thinking that keep you stuck, will cultivate windows of opportunity out of those unknown twists and turns.
Being physically and psychologically prepared for the unknown eases the impact of uncertainty. When your body, mind and spirit are agile, you are able to step back and see the potential that lies in the layers and folds of time. Think back to an experience in your life that made you uncomfortable and initially you feared the worst but in the end turned out to be one of those beautiful blessings in disguise. Use these as lessons to keep you moving towards your fullest potential. Begin to see the veils of the unexpected as magical possibilities waiting to appear.
None of us can predict with absolute certainty the outcome of our endeavors but that doesn’t stop us from pursuing our passions. It doesn’t stop us from having children or taking a chance on love. In other words, most of us have lived side-by-side with uncertainty and have carried on with the business of living. Make friends with the unpredictable, it is part of life’s ebb and flow. It is a powerful source of inspiration for growth and despite our trepidations, empowers us.
As December unfolds, see if you can peer into the eyes of uncertainty as if through the eyes of a child; imagine the endless current of change as a river carrying you to new destinations in life, you may have never known existed.