Thriving in an Uncertain World

What part of life do we so often resist? Uncertainty.  In truth, no one knows what the next moment holds, much less the distant future that we are heading toward.

It may be distressing. Or not. To gain insight, let’s examine this important area further.

The brain has an often-outdated reaction to uncertainty, sometimes panicking as if one’s life might be at stake. For ancestors dealing with prowling predators, this came in handy. For most of us now it is a rarely needed impulsive reaction.

Today we are often faced with decisions that we need to make without much information. If you think about it, having little information should make you cautious and intentional, not flighty with a fast reaction.

Here are two common situations facing people:  A business person who wants their business to succeed, but has little information on how exactly to proceed. Or a spiritual seeker who gets advice from an authority, and is not sure how to follow up with this new information and way of being. In either case, just being reactive  can lead one astray.

So how do you prevent your limbic brain stem from hijacking your more intentional-thinking brain’s cortex?

Let’s start here: be aware of what you can and cannot control.  There are some grey areas.  But generally, focus on what you can control and let go of trying to control the uncontrollable.

As a motivation, know that you can make wonderful decisions and carve out a great life even amidst tumultuous times.

Keeping in mind a sense of what is within your control, here are four ways to deal with uncertainty:

1. Ask these two questions:

What is the worst that can happen?
What is the best that can happen?

Answering these questions eases your mind and nervous system. It gives you a range of possibilities, helping you to more calmly deal with uncertainty.

2. Find strategies

If possible, come up with some tentative plans for the future. Then you can feel more aware and ready for what might be coming your way.  You might also take satisfaction in being quite creative and resourceful.

So consider what you need to organize and prepare. For example, if the power ever goes out, you can know where to find your flashlights, candles and matches.

3. Accept uncertainty as part of life

We all want life to be more predictable so we can make plans and feel more safe and secure. Nonetheless, things often turn out differently from our best-laid plans.

A few points here. First, forget perfection.  (Strive for excellence instead.)

Second, realize that some things you can control, like regulating your emotions and making plans and following through on them. Other things are beyond your control, like a pandemic or loss of a loved one. 

4. Learn how to trust

Here is something you can become certain about: connecting with your heart and soul. In turn, let your inner wisdom guide you.

Partner with your soul and bring the spiritual realms down to earth to direct and ground you.

Going Forward 

As we described, there are some reliable ways to deal with uncertainty: asking certain questions, strategizing, accepting and trusting.

Much of life is uncertain. So dealing with uncertainty should be a priority as it has many important benefits.

Tolerating uncertainty will improve your decision making. It will help in handling conflict. You will have better control over your emotions. Overall, it will increase your sense of resilience so you can resist hitting the panic button and figure out a better way forward.

Uncertainty’s Gift

From another perspective, we can consider uncertainty as a possible gift. It’s an opportunity to be creative, to gain deep insights and solutions, and to evolve.”

From another perspective, we can consider uncertainty as a possible gift. It’s an opportunity to be creative, to gain deep insights and solutions, and to evolve.

It’s been said that evolution follows more of a windy path rather than a straight line. Sometimes what’s around the bend is hidden from view.

But with the right mindset, and a heart-and-soul approach, uncertainty can become more of an ally than foe. You can thrive in an uncertain world. That feels better, doesn’t it?

 

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Phillip and Jane Mountrose