“Ignorance is bliss”. You must have heard this quote at least once at some point in your life. It is likely that you would have loved the meaning concealed in this statement as well and would have thought that you are in complete agreement that ignorance is indeed a blessing in disguise. And yet, it is more often than not that you find the best of mental comfort and peace when you know what’s going to happen or can predict it.
Uncertainty regarding any given matter of our lives has the potential to make us cringe. It is primarily because our minds have an in-built proclivity towards seeking control. Naturally, if you are uncertain about something, it is pretty much impossible for you to control it, right? This is why the fear of having a negative experience is usually more intimidating than the experience itself. The problem lies in the way our societies function these days. There is hardly going to be anyone who would tell you it’s okay to be uncertain. We are all living a life that is synonymous to a rat race where everyone is in search of getting control over everything, be it the career, the relationships, the family, the friends, your health, or the finances, etc.
The constant struggle to fight uncertainty and rule it out of your life gives a blow to your mind to an extent that its effects can be seen on physical health as well. Being in a battle to avoid uncertainty can suck the joy out of your life and slowly start to obliterate your personal and professional life. In all honesty, even in terms of those elements that you think you have a complete control over, the possibility of accidents and surprises can’t be ignored.
So, since an effort into avoiding uncertainty hasn’t worked for you so far and is likely to continue down the same road, it would be a wise decision to look for an alternative. And when it is impossible for you to control something, isn’t it an impeccable alternative to learn to embrace it? Yes, with a few simple tips and tricks, it is possible to train yourself to embrace uncertainty. Let us highlight a few of the ways that you can accomplish this goal.
Let’s Think Negative
Did we get your attention yet? Take an example of any self-help guide and you will always find it asking you to be more positive. And here we are asking you to be more negative. Wondering how would that work? Here’s how.
As mentioned earlier, even if the experience isn’t as intimidating, the fear of experiencing it is mind crushing, to say the least. The reason why uncertainty hits us like a rock is that we don’t have a plan for it. More often than not, we like to plan for favorable circumstances because, well, it’s such a mood lifter. For example, if your promotion at work is in the pipeline, you would spend hours of your daydreaming about what you are going to do with all the extra money that you will be getting on a monthly basis once you are promoted. You may plan to take a trip with your loved ones or buy that new car that you have your eyes on, or perhaps a bigger house with a Jacuzzi. But there are like a hundred other employees who are working with you in the office, all of whom are perhaps working as diligently as you and have every bit of the right on the promotion as you do. And yet, you never stop to think that there is a good chance that you won’t be the one getting the promotion this year.
This is what you have to start doing if you are looking forward to learning to embrace uncertainty. Stop focusing entirely on the positive outcome and start bringing the negative one into the frame to calmly devise a plan to cope with it beforehand. Once you start to realize that you have a plan in either case, the fear of uncertainty would slowly start to vanish. By doing so, you can essentially remove the horror factor from even the worst-case scenarios.
Start With The Mental Exercises
No, we are certainly not referring to the mental exercises that can help it be sharper or perform better in the realm of cognitive capacities. We are not requesting you to start playing the word games on a regular basis or take the analytical quizzes that you can find on the internet. What we mean here are the exercises which can offer a broader perspective, provide mental clarity, and remove the smog of fear that is percolating inside due to the uncertainty of the upcoming events in your life.
The good news is that any number of mental exercises can be effective in offering mental clarity. One of the finest ones that will be recommended by pretty much everyone is meditation and mindfulness. The origin of such practices can be traced back to the days of the great Buddha. The benefits that meditation offers in terms of promoting your mental and physical health are so widespread that people from all over the world make use of this small yet effective strategy for various reasons. Meditation and mindfulness are known to find you a way out of your disturbing and troubling thoughts to bring you back to the here and now. It activates your natural relaxation response to walk the unnecessary stress and anxiety out of your mind. It is further effective in restoring your mood all of which helps a great deal in offering the mental clarity that enables you to embrace uncertainty without being afraid of it.
Simply put, any activity that can distract your mind from focusing on the fear of uncertainty and refreshes it to recharge its battery can be effective in making you learn to embrace uncertainty. For instance, some people would find traveling to be their guiding angel to find uncertainty, others would probably seek it in a social setting where they can share their feelings and emotions with their loved ones.
Manage Your Expectations
As mentioned earlier, one of the primary reasons why uncertainty appears frightening is because we are too focused on fighting it and making it disappear rather than embracing it. In order to do the latter and remove the fear of it from your mind, it is recommended to try an exercise that is commonly referred to as the “I wonder” exercise. More often than not, the statements which pop into your mind regarding the upcoming events of your life are related to the hope of a positive outcome. For instance, you would always be thinking “I hope I get the promotion this year”, “I hope my dinner date goes impeccably today”, “I hope I get my dream car at a price that I can afford”, etc.
Such statements, again, are a way of focusing entirely on the outcome that you desire and not the alternative that has an equal probability of occurring. A simple solution if you usually find yourself engulfed with the “I hope” statements is to transform them into an “I wonder” statement. Instead of saying I hope I get the promotion this year, turn it into a question of I wonder IF I will get a promotion this year. Instead of wishing I hope I get my dream car at a price that I can afford, turn it into a question of I wonder IF I can get my dream car at a price that I can afford.
Replacing the “I hope” statements into the “I wonder” statements helps you be more open to an outcome that probably won’t align itself with what you desired. It helps you to stop fighting or running away from uncertainty and enables you to accept it as reality. Once you learn to accept that uncertainty exists and the outcome may as well be a negative one, you improve your chances of removing the fear of facing such an outcome.
Remember that accepting uncertainty doesn’t mean you have to stop planning your future and give in to the uncertainty. It simply means to accept the reality that all of your plans are prone to unpredictability, expected circumstances, a few surprises, and accidents that may turn the tables for you. If anything, embracing uncertainty means planning more comprehensively. Instead of planning for the desired outcome as we always do, it enables you to devise a more wholesome plan that covers the favorable as well as the unfavorable circumstances that you will be confronted within the time to come. It is aimed at removing all the burden from your mind that is crumbling under a false hope of establishing certainty in all domains of your life. Embracing uncertainty is a matter of shifting your focus from the outcome which is hardly ever in your control, to your habits or the processes that you do have the capacity to control.