Are you sure?

There’s so much talk these days of uncertainty, and of these uncertain times we’re living in, it seems as if this is something to fear. Yet if we just pause for a moment… many of us, honestly, would want to be absolutely certain about the future, know exactly what’s going to happen for the rest of our lives and have it all mapped out with no surprises to look forward to? I know for a fact I’d find it somewhat dull and predictable. It would be like Groundhog Day all over again ;-)

And I’d be willing to bet that most of us never expected to be exactly where we are in life right now, doing what we’re doing, knowing who we know, having learned the lessons we’ve learned and enjoying the gifts we’ve received. When I was working in financial services all those years ago I never imagined I’d be running my own business, writing on a blog (what was a blog?) or sky diving out of a plane!

So while certainty can seem desirable at times, it can also be very limiting. And holding onto our fixed views and ideas about the world can be equally limiting. We only have to look at the recent impact on the financial markets to see the damage caused by so-called experts being so certain they were right! And as Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes in his book The Black Swan, “the world we live in is vastly different from the world we think we live in”. In other words, just because we don’t know about something doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

Being certain is a bit like looking down a funnel where the number of likely outcomes becomes fewer and fewer and we fail to see anything outside that narrow focus. This can trip us up in many ways. It can lead to arrogance, ignorance, playing safe, holding back or missing opportunities. (and I’m sure there are many other possible consequences too ;-))

Uncertainty, on the other hand, is like throwing open the windows on a world of possibilities ;-)
When we allow ourselves to enjoy uncertainty, life becomes more exciting, all kinds of things become possible and we can take effective action to capitalise on these. So perhaps these ‘uncertain’ times present a real opportunity for us to let go of our need for certainty, be open to ‘not knowing’, become curious and creative and get ready to discover new possibilities. Who knows, we might be pleasantly surprised ;-)

And remember; “Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity” R I Fitzhenry

Where can you embrace a little more uncertainty in your life?