Monday, July 22, 2024

4 Powerful Ways to Master the Art of Living with Uncertainty

4 Powerful Ways to Master the Art of Living with Uncertainty


“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos

Uncertainty has always been a fact of life, but I think we can all agree that its looming presence seems to be more potent than ever.

As if the uncertainties of personal matters—finding love, holding down a job, raising healthy kids—weren’t challenging enough, now we’re facing political, environmental, and technological uncertainties on a scale not previously known.

Polarizing figures are running for office and winning.

Heat domes and super blizzards are disrupting our quality of life.

Artificial intelligence might single-handedly upend entire sectors of jobs.

Suffice it to say that uncertainty isn’t going away.

It’s raised a lot of questions in my own life. How can I secure my future? Am I prepared to give up certain comforts? Should I be stocking up on more emergency food and water?

I’ve come to realize that it’s in my best interest to learn how to live with uncertainty—not simply to make it less intolerable, but to awaken the personal power that comes through dancing with the unknown.

Several years ago, I experienced a wake-up call in the face of new uncertainties, and I was in no way prepared for it.

I sustained work-related injuries that completely upended my life. While living in a state of intense physical and emotional pain for almost a year, I was unable to work or take care of myself. Brushing my hair and putting on skinny jeans was a struggle.

Long after my injuries healed, my doctor told me the lingering chronic pain was likely going to be permanent. Suddenly, I had to consider a future where I would be unemployable, completely reliant upon others, and in constant pain. But after months of mental suffering, I finally found the silver lining.

My true power lies in my ability to embrace the unknown.

From that moment forward, I began taking risks to create the life I actually wanted. I left the career that led to my injury, and I started over, even though I had no shred of evidence to prove that I would be successful. I chose to believe I could reshape my future and thrive.

Your power isn’t measured by how well you perform when the temperature is just right, everyone agrees with you, and the outcomes are guaranteed. It’s easy to be kind and feel confident when life flows smoothly and predictably.

But when your kid is having a meltdown two minutes before your job interview?

Or your landlord decides not to renew your lease?

Or your spouse is diagnosed with a chronic disease?

These are the moments when you have an opportunity to stop old habits—catastrophizing, finger-pointing, or coming apart at the seams—and to start trusting yourself to grow into an expanded, more resilient version of you.

Everything has a degree of uncertainty. I believe that mastering the art of living with unknowns is the secret to being successful at anything you put your mind to—whether it’s building a business or reentering the dating world.

Because your relationship with uncertainty is a choice.

What if you could be a master sorcerer at responding to, playing with, and leveraging the unplanned circumstances of your life?

What if it felt empowering or even magical to be with the unfolding unknown?

This isn’t to say that feeling afraid or grieving change is wrong. When everything that once felt secure is now on the chopping board, it’s normal to be upset. But endless suffering isn’t necessary, healthy, or empowering.

If you let your survival brain steer the wheel, you’ll easily get stuck in indecision and doubt, which will obscure what’s possible.

Power comes through experiencing your unrealized self-agency precisely when everything seems out of control—to remember that you have choice in every moment.

To be fair, very real, very harmful changes are happening in the world. When your rights are being taken away, global warming is destroying the earth, and no one can agree on what’s the “truth” anymore, we need to mobilize to create the change that’s desperately needed. You can’t make a difference when you’re busy complaining, floundering, or hiding from the problem.

Expanding your capacity to embrace uncertainty is an inevitable journey that life will keep inviting you to participate in until you finally say yes.

Here are a few ways to start building a new relationship with uncertainty.

4 Ways to Master the Art of Living with Uncertainty

 1. Reduce anxiety and turn up the curiosity. 

Anxiety is the result of your internal threat sensors getting activated, and this is natural, but it can easily become a self-perpetuating cycle.

Intercepting anxiety is a superpower you want to have. It allows you to problem-solve like a wizard from a place of curiosity. Curiosity is neutral, unbiased, and open to possibilities. It doesn’t care about failure; it only cares about learning. It doesn’t listen to your ego; it only draws insight from your deeper wisdom. Curiosity will help you spark ideas and take action. Anxiety will crush innovation and paralyze you.

There are countless tools that can help you turn off the stress signals in your brain. Anytime you feel anxiety rearing its ugly head, try this breathing technique. Pause what you’re doing to inhale for four, hold for four, and exhale for four. Repeat a few times. Small interventions like breathing have a powerful cumulative effect in building resilience in your nervous system.

2. Consult your three centers of intelligence.

They say there are three brains—one in your head, one in your heart, and one in your gut. There are actually thousands of neurons in your heart, and we all know that gut-instinct feeling in our belly.

Each of these wisdom centers gives you messages that are each meaningful in their own way if you pause to listen. All you need to do is ask your mind, heart, and gut what they each know to be true about a situation you’re facing.

To get the most out of this practice, go to a quiet, uninterrupted space. Center yourself, step into your curiosity, and go inward for some wisdom. “What does my heart, gut, and mind know about this situation that’s important for me to know?”

When I took a leap of faith in quitting my nine-to-five job to become a healer, my heart and gut were in full agreement about this decision. I was excited and relieved to realize what I truly wanted to do. But my mind was initially full of questions like, “How do I start taking steps to make this happen?” and “How can I afford this risk?”

Sometimes your centers of intelligence might not be in alignment, which creates that feeling of inner conflict. That is completely normal. Consulting your three centers is about gathering information.

In my case, the practicality of my mind wasn’t ready to shake hands with my feelings and intuition. So I knew I needed to listen carefully to my inner wisdom, which said loud and clear, “You need to plan this out carefully and not make any naive decisions!”

3. When in doubt, remember you always have two options.

When you’re struggling to embrace change or uncertainty, remember that you always have one of two options: gracefully surrender or rise up and play a part. In other words, you can change your thoughts about the situation, or you can change the situation.

Making decisions can feel taxing. Isn’t it easier to choose between one of two options, as opposed to endlessly resisting, lamenting, or overthinking it?

Whether you decide to surrender or take action, all you need to ask yourself is, “What’s the next smallest step I need to take?” Focus on one small step at a time.

4. Plant new seeds.

How often do you doubt yourself or assume the worst? How likely are you to label your experience as “hard,” “impossible,” or “unfair”? If you allow limiting beliefs to run amok, you’re giving up a lot of rent-free space in your mind to thoughts that do not serve you. Fixating on despair and hopelessness creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t do that.

You were made to rise up to something greater—believing and embodying this truth is perhaps your greatest unrealized power. Choosing to believe that you have free will, are inherently worthy, and have infinite creativity is a game-changing strategy that very few people take advantage of.

You get to create the narrative of your life. What beliefs do you want to have about yourself and what you can achieve? Get specific, write them down, and make a regular practice of rooting into these beliefs and embodying them.

Embodying a belief means that it feels congruent inside when you think it. A belief is just an empty thought if you don’t emotionally embody it. If a new belief feels like too big of a jump, start really small. Remind yourself, “Even though I feel this way, I am learning to feel differently.”

When I first started putting myself in front of people to talk about my work as a healer, I was not used to the visibility and vulnerability it required. Despite being over-the-moon excited to help people, I was surprised to learn that it was also frightening.

I knew I needed to build more capacity to feel safe being seen and taking up space. So I started to gently remind myself that “I am safe when I’m visible” as I embodied the feeling of inner security. This is not an overnight trick. This is a dedicated practice that takes time and tenacity to commit to.

Planting seeds is a long-term investment in yourself—treat it like a non-negotiable part of your health routine and a sacred remembering of who you’re becoming and where you’re going.

Strengthening your relationship with uncertainty is going to set you up for unimaginable success in your relationships, career, and creative endeavors because it will enable you to take chances you might otherwise be afraid to take. And it will also help you better cope with the varied challenges of our time.

If you waver on a big decision because you’re scared of the unknown, simply ask yourself what would make you proud of yourself in the long run. Treat every obstacle or mishap as a learning opportunity, where your only job is to stay curious and get better at pivoting. This will build your self-trust muscle and your confidence. Eventually you’ll realize how much more comfortable you are with uncertainty. Last but not least, be sure to celebrate this momentous win!





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