IT OFTEN happens for me that themes appear in what I'm reading or through my coaching work and recently that theme has been uncertainty. It's an interesting one for various reasons.
As humans, we feel safer and more in control when there is some certainty in our life. Yet life is uncertain and I expect many of you have experienced just how quickly things can change and throw our lives into turmoil. Suddenly everything is uncertain.
The brain works against us here to a certain extent because, craving certainty and unable to find any, it sets about creating it. Sounds like a great strategy, doesn't it? Except it's flawed because the way it does it is to create a future based on its past experience.
For example, if you are going for a job interview or a first date or meeting a new client your brain will refer to what it knows already and make assumptions. So if a previous interview, date or new client meeting went really well, your brain will assume the same result, which is okay. However if a previous similar event went badly then your brain will assume it's all going to go horribly wrong and can create anxiety.
While the first example of going well feels better than the going badly one, they are both incorrect because they are both assumptions and we know that assumption can cause havoc at the best of times. Not helpful. After all, this is a different situation, different person and we may have moved on and changed things since the last similar experience.
So knowing that this happens is one thing, but what are we to do about it? My two main suggestions would be to create whatever certainty is possible and start getting more comfortable with uncertainty. A simple example of creating certainty would be if someone says they'll do something for you but isn't specific. That may create uncertainty for you so you need more information about when.
Getting more comfortable with uncertainty might include making no plans for the next day and allowing things to unfold; sometimes we can get caught up in wanting things to be predictable and certain and we miss out on spur of the moment opportunities and random surprises.
Some personality types are naturally comfortable with some uncertainty; others are definitely not so also look for ways in which you can create some certainty for those around you.
Overall the best approach is to plan for, focus on and work towards the future that you do want with as much certainty as you have at the time. Even though it may not turn out exactly as planned there will be plenty to learn along the way.
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