“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, Infinite Possibilities open up in your life.” — Eckhart Tolle
One thing is certain in this life of ours, death. But till then, the rest of life lies in uncertainty.
As humans, we like it when things work out well for us. We like it when we get things from the get-go. And in turn, this promotes a little bit of certainty in our actions.
However, to go far in life, much of it lies in uncertainty. But as a culture that has resorted to being faster instead of better, the majority of us opt for certainty.
The meaning of life.
Understand that uncertainty is a part of the human experience.
Research shows that we prefer to know for sure that something wrong will happen over not knowing what an outcome will be.
The truth is certainty kills excitement in things we do. If I’m certain that at the end of each day, I will be paid a million dollars irrespective of me working or not, I wouldn’t struggle for anything at all. And only in struggle can we find a meaning for our life.
We like to avoid struggle and yet, when it is removed from our lives, we become miserable.
This year 2020 has already proved that to us. When struggle is removed from our lives, life loses its meaning. Struggle doesn’t make you weak or strong, it gives you hope that only you can find a meaning to.
Uncertainty only means you are alive
Living a life of certainty is living a life of no struggle.
Imagine Roger Federer wants to play a tennis game with me who have no idea of how to play the game. Chances are Roger won’t even bother to train because he is certain of defeating me.
So where is the fun in all of this? and yet, this is what the majority of us want. Certainty.
Why do you do what you do? be it business, life, relationships or your art?
It’s because you are uncertain of what tomorrow holds for you and that’s why you have to keep showing up to it.
If you are certain you will be a champion tomorrow, why train rigorously today.
If you are certain you will make 100 million dollars next year, why do anything this year?
Understand that in every certainty, there is always a fear of uncertainty. But in every uncertainty, there is never a fear of certainty.
Krishnamurti put it best when he said:
“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.”
We want to be certain our book will sell before we write the book.
We want to be certain our startup will cause disruption before we start it.
We want to be certain our music will be a hit before we release it.
We want to be certain we will win the competition before taking part in it.
It isn’t difficult to tell why we hate uncertainty. It’s because we can’t predict the outcome. It’s like hanging on to expectation we create for ourself when in the real sense those expectations are out of our control.
Uncertainty is a natural part of life. Everyone feels it on a daily basis. From big things to small, being uncertain doesn’t mean you are lost or a failure. It just means you’re alive.
And being alive is letting life takes its course while you learn to handle whatever situation it brings.
In the words of Arthur Schopenhauer:
It is nature belief to teach what can not be known if it could be known belief would be ludicrous and useless.
Uncertainty allows us to re-evaluate the past and make new choices in light of what transpires. It presents opportunities to create a compelling future based on new information.
Playing the game of certainty in uncertainty
In a life that is uncertain, playing a game of certainty in it only compounds to our misery.
Once you learn to accept what life throws at you while making good use of it irrespective of the circumstance you’re in, best believe you are on the path to tranquillity.
Sports between two professionals is a game of uncertainty and yet we see a lot of gamblers going all in to stake on someone. What happens when the result doesn’t go their way, they blame themselves for it.
To gamble for certainty in a game that is uncertain is to doom yourself for loss. And in the wise words of George Horace:
when a speculator wins he doesn’t stop till he loses and when he loses he can’t stop till he wins.
You can’t control uncertainty, and worrying about it will only make things worse. Part of embracing life means accepting a lack of control over what will happen next. If we realize this at an early stage, we will live much happier lives.
“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.” ― Pema Chödrön.
Find a middle ground between living with uncertainty and maintaining a level of control, short of manipulating outcomes. Let go of tension, anxiety and fear by embracing the unknown. Consider uncertainty a worthwhile journey toward a daring future writes Tony Fahkry.
Certainty is the enemy of progress. Being afraid is natural, but it shouldn’t prevent you from embracing the unknown. Because by expecting to get things right at the start. We block ourselves psychologically and choke off a host of opportunity to learn.
Dealing with change requires being open to the uncertain part of it. Embrace the uncertainty one step at a time and learn to accept reality rather than fight back.
We all love certainty in as much as I write embracing the uncertainty, I often fall to this paradox myself. However, through a gradual process of learning, you get to shed the skin of certainty off your life.
What is the essence of striving at life if we know how it’s going to pan out in the end?
Live for the unknown and embrace the uncertainty that comes with it.