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Discover Opportunities You Never Imagined; Embrace Uncertainty

Do you know what’s going to happen to you tomorrow?  The answer to this question is inevitably “No.”  Even if you have the best plans and schedules, you can’t predict for sure what’s going to happen.

So how do you deal with uncertainty?  By accepting it.

Uncertainty is Stressful (But it doesn’t have to be)

Letting uncertainty happen is stressful.  It scares us when we don’t know what’s going to happen because we imagine all kinds of bad and undesirable things that might occur.  We feel that we can’t leave too much up to chance.  But when we try to eliminate all uncertainty, not only do we block out the bad stuff that could happen we also block out the good things that could happen – things that we never guessed might occur.

When you make your plans too rigid you limit yourself to past experiences and those things that you can imagine happening.  But what about all the things that could happen that you can’t imagine? That’s where you miss out.  Allowing some uncertainty keeps you open to things that you never could have guessed would happen.  Some of those things may not be pleasant, but some of those things are opportunities that will take you in a direction you didn’t know existed.

Uncertainty Increases Possibility and Creativity

Living with uncertainty increases Possibility and Creativity in your life.  Possibility when you are open to experiences that you never had before and creativity when you adapt to circumstances you never thought would happen.  You need these things because they increase your opportunity for growth.  When you have a goal that you are trying to reach you can’t imagine exactly how you might get there, and when you try to plan for everything that might happen you limit your experiences.

It’s usually not what’s straight ahead of us that is really rewarding, it’s the things we notice from the periphery.  But if we are focused exclusively on what’s straight ahead of us, we tend not to notice things on the side, and those are missed opportunities.

Life on Replay

We want to know what’s going to happen to us because we will then know how to act, but the only things that we know are those things that have already happened to us, and essentially, when we always want the known, we live exclusively in the past.  This means that are lives are simply being lived on “Replay.”

Besides, we can’t ever really control everything even when we try to.  We are adapting to circumstances constantly – whether we want to or not.  So the choice is whether you will gracefully accept what comes to you or whether you will go kicking and screaming all the way.

“Without uncertainty and the unknown, life is just the stale repetition of outworn memories.” –  Deepak Chopra, from “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”

Start Small

Begin to challenge your uncertainty threshold by spending time in an uncontrolled, unplanned-out, unstructured environment.  You don’t have to do it in an environment where things really matter, like at work.  But the next time you have a day, or an afternoon or an hour to spare, just see what happens rather than deciding what you want and making a plan to get there.  Next time you work on your hobby don’t have any goals, go off and explore a new part of your city, a hiking trail, a park, or just decide to follow your whims for a certain amount of time.  The point is not to try to get anywhere.

Always trying to control is a fruitless activity.  It causes stress and discomfort because the Universe has a way of doing what it wants and not what we want.  Practicing uncertainty can help to alleviate the stress that you feel when you have to adapt to a circumstance that you did not plan.


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  1. Hey Amanda!

    Thanks for picking up this topic.

    It can be really draining to live with uncertainty. But by accepting it as a natural part of life – things start to flow…

    By resisting we create our own unhappiness.

    Great post +_+

  2. Reminds me of the saying, ‘the only thing certain is change’.

    Trying to hold the world accountable for conforming to your own mental model is futile.

    In fact when you let go of all control of the external events of your life you discover that happiness is abound everywhere just waiting for you to look at it.

  3. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Axel g – Exactly, resistance only makes us frustrated. Finding that flow is so important.

    Ari – Great minds! Thanks for the Stumble. (Excellent post, by the way, they are incredibly similar!)

    Jarrod – Oh yes, hoping that external events will conform to what you want is a sure bet for severe frustration. 🙂

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