As the year starts one of the sure things is that everyone is uncertain of how it will end. Someone is starting school and does not know how it will end. There is someone who is planning to quit his/her current job and start a new one and is uncertain how it will turn. A parent is taking a kid to a new school. Maybe you have moved to a new neighborhood or a new house. Another person wants to start a relationship and is unsure about the new partner. Uncertainty abounds everywhere where one is doing a new thing for the first time.Uncertainty can be paralyzing and hold one from making progress. Uncertainty is uncomfortable, but it’s a necessary step in achieving maximal creativity and reaching breakthroughs. Avoiding uncertainty may reduce short-term anxiety, but it limits our potential, leading to premature decisions and missed opportunities.
Below are some suggestions on how to deal with uncertainty derived from The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking, a book by Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane.
- Balance uncertainty with healthy habits. Uncertainty is all about risks and has to be managed with other less risky activities. Uncertainty can be balanced with healthy habits, rituals, and routines in other areas of our life. Create routines and habits that are predictable that act as a support system.
- Start small. When striving to form a new, positive habit, start small. Define the target habit or routine specifically and find a trigger to spur consistency. Create incentives for yourself, but anticipate that some level of failure will accompany the process.
- Don’t rely on will power. Willpower is not very reliable. It adds to uncertainty and frustrates certainty hence don’t depend on will power. When it comes to new habits, willpower is a finite resource. We cannot rely on it alone to achieve our new desired behavior. Create defaults and reinforcements to make your new routine easy. For instance, when starting to wake up very early and you not been used to you have to put on an alarm. In addition, you can ask a neighbor or friend to call you very early and make sure your are up.
- Practice uncertainty. There are ways to do this, including playing games like poker, chess, video games as well as naming and accepting the uncertainty verbally, or experiencing uncertainty in safe situations like at a movie or a sporting event.
- Responsibility transfer. It sounds complicated yet it is basically what majority do. In this case responsibility transfer is prayer. Sit down, kneel or use other posture and transfer the responsibility to God(The all knowing and all powerful). Tell Him of all your worries and anxieties and leave them to Him to solve. This takes of the heavy burden of uncertainty from the individual and helps the individual to focus on other things.