Thanks to modern technology, the world is evolving at a very fast rate. Things are happening really fast and our lives seem to be moving at 100 miles per hour (mph). We are not sure of what the next hour will look like much less the next day. It is impossible to have all the aspects of our lives under control. For those who are ambitious, it get even worse because they are constantly striving to make investments in the future. This leads to uncertainty. Whenever we do not know exactly how things will go, we end up being stressed. This is because there is always the possibility of failure. We wish for complete knowledge of the circumstances around us at all times. Unfortunately, we have to learn how to adapt and live with uncertainty. Here are 10 tips on how to better deal with uncertainty in your life.
Instead of expecting, plan
Expectations are one way to set yourself up to be disappointed. It is possible to guide your life tomorrow but you have no control over your exact outcome. This can cause you to have negative or positive expectations. If you have negative ones, you will become too close-minded to seize the opportunities that occur around you. On the other hand if you have positive expectations, you might create a vision that will be difficult to live up to. As such, the uncertainty of life can transform your expectations into stressors. Therefore, instead of expecting, create plans. This is because through them you can control your present. This is much more logical than trying to control your future.
Map out your life
Uncertainty often comes with the fear of getting lost. This is the main cause of discomfort among many. An effective way to prevent yourself from getting lost is to have a map. While these are available for geographical locations, you have to create a map for your own life. One of the most effective examples is the GTD productivity map. This is a resource you can create for yourself. It allows you to know where you currently are, where you are going, the means to get there and the possibilities available for you once you arrive. This personal productivity map also shows you what you need to do in case something unexpected occurs along the path. Through this form of life mapping, you have a system that helps you to maneuver in case you lose perspective.
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Prepare yourself for various possibilities
The most challenging part of being uncertain is the inability to feel in control. Being human, we want to know how things will go so as to be comfortable. Uncertainty takes this from us. Things change too fast for us to experience this. Therefore, instead of expecting specific outcomes of life, it makes more sense to simply prepare yourself for various possibilities. For example, you can make lists of the activities that you will perform in case things go one way or another. One of the characteristics of an uncertain future is luck. This is when things go exactly as you desired. It is important to know that luck happens when preparation and opportunity meet.
Become confident in your ability to cope and adapt to your circumstances
Assure yourself that you can actually cope and adapt in case the worst happens. This does not mean that you become a pessimist. It simply means that you are confident in your ability to handle whatever life throws at you. This form of thought is explained in detail in a book known as "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking" by Julie K. Norem. Thinking about the worst and adapting for it is known as defensive pessimism. This strategy has been observed to assist people to reduce their day to day anxiety.
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Transform yourself into a feeling observer
It is actually not uncertainty that bothers us. It is the tendency to get lost in feelings about an uncertain future. The moment that you begin to experience fear about the future, you get stuck in a collection of thoughts caused by a reaction stimulus. You begin to speculate. In this activity, your thoughts waver between optimism and pessimism. This cycle can last for a long time and cause you stress. To avoid this, observe your inner condition. Whenever you discover that you are geting stuck in a collection of thoughts, observe and catch yourself before your emotions get out of hand.
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Keep an eye on what you can control right now
Maintain focus on the things that you can control in the your short term. There are many activities which you can conduct today so as to create a clearer vision of what can occur in future. Examples of such are focusing on your career, talents, hobbies or profession. By maintaining focus on these activities, you can prevent yourself from getting unnecessarily paralyzed.
Accept risk and use it to your advantage
Whenever there is uncertainty, there is risk. It is important to minimize your risk and accept that which you cannot eliminate. If managed well, risk can be a good thing. It can help you to learn how to navigate difficult moments of life. It also helps you to learn how to manage your emotions. There are various resources around us that can help with handling risk. Examples of these are risk management manuals.
Embrace the possibility of chaos
The future has a collection of characteristics that make us anxious. One of these is complete failure. Often interpreted as chaos, this is where things go wrong without the possibility of correction. Whenever we face an uncertain future, we have to deal with chaos. It is created by our brains through a phenomenon known as the negativity bias. To protect us, our brains always make the most negative conclusion of a situation. This is so that we can prepare possible solutions in case that happens. If left unchecked, this bias can create chaos where there is none. As such, face uncertainty with confidence in a positive outcome. This overrides the negative bias and keeps your mind open. As such, even if things go completely wrong, you are open minded enough to see an opportunity in the challenge.
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Do what makes you happy
When facing an uncertain future, it is necessary to wait. You have to wait and see how things go. This an agonizing activity. To relieve its pain, simply engage in the activities which make you happy. This can be a hobby, a talent or even a bucket list activity. Do what makes you happy. You will pass the time faster and in a more pleasurable way. This helps you to forget about the uncertainty for a moment and enjoy life.
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Accept that surprises can occur
Whenever something happens that we had not prepared for, it is a surprise. They occur no matter what we do. Therefore, it is best to be prepared for surprises. They are a constant characteristic of the future and they cause uncertainty. Surprises can be good sources of knowledge. By embracing them, you can get to experience things that you never even dreamed of.
The Important Take Away
Uncertainty is a reality for all of us. This is because it is a characteristic of the future. No matter how much we plan, we are always bound to experience some uncertainty. Instead of panicking, the tips above can help you to handle it. They are beacons to guide you through the oceans of your future.