One of the most common fears that affects most of us in everything we don’t do, yes, everything we DON’T do, is the fear of an uncertain outcome. Whether it is about starting a business, moving to another city, changing jobs, writing a book, committing to our relationship or taking up skiing, we may want to do it, but we don’t know how it will turn out and therefore we don’t act on it. We might lose interest in the idea, we might run into obstacles that we can’t seem to overcome, we might be stuck in excuses, feel too lazy or whatever else we choose to call our reasons for not moving forward. But in the end, it’s all about our fear. We want our endeavors to come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and when we realize that this is not how the real world works, we back away and stay in our safe comfort zones. Nothing can harm us here. Right?

But what if we are actually staying stuck, rather than safe?

At the end of last year, I interviewed Carl, a fifty-year-old man who knows all about fear of uncertain outcomes. His whole life has been full of projects and ideas he never fulfilled, as it always seemed easier to stay where he was.

“I was lazy and I didn’t have any guarantees”, he told me.

Now he is stuck in a job he can’t stand, with no career prospects and is being paid minimum wage. Why would his instincts take him there? Well, because the process is gradual. It happens slowly with no sudden changes. His environment feels safe and familiar. He works his hours every day and picks up his paycheck every month. That’s comforting. And for many people, this is what life is and they stick to that routine as long as they can.

However, there actually is a sure thing, a certain outcome, a 100% guarantee: If you don’t feel satisfied or happy in your life right now and don’t make any effort to change things — it will only get worse. If you hate your job, if you are in a dysfunctional relationship or if you are deep in debt and struggling to make ends meet, it will keep going south if you don’t take action.

To avoid this, you will need to change

· your situation

· the way you feel about your situation

· your behavior or

· all of the above.

Your options are to do something and have at least a fifty-fifty chance (and that’s being very pessimistic about the odds) of your life improving or to do nothing with a 100% risk of it getting worse. That should be an obvious choice, shouldn’t it? Suddenly, uncertainty is looking a whole lot better than a certain and steady decline.

All positive change starts with uncertainty. There simply is no other way. Getting a better job, having a baby, starting a business, making an investment or taking a trip — they all come with unknowns. And that’s exactly why all these changes help you to grow, to expand your comfort zone and to improve your skills and your life. If the processes and outcomes were all certain in advance, there would be nothing for you to learn.

So if you just can’t seem to stop worrying about things in your life, maybe you are better off worrying about the certainty instead of the uncertainty.

And right there you have some great fuel for action!

More tips and stories to help you grow your comfort zone can be found @detoursandshortcuts on Facebook

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Originally published at