The Key to Dealing with Uncertainty

Personal Growth | 14 Comments
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It’s a simple fact of life—everyone has dreams, but most people never get to live them.

Some give up on them as soon as they reach adulthood.

Others quietly try to keep them alive as they settle into the workforce, squeezing in an hour here and there, hoping the dream will somehow become reality.

But sooner or later, for the vast majority of people, those dreams die.

The greatest tragedy? Instead of asking why, we accept it as “just the way things are.”

But if we were to ask why dreams die, we would uncover an uncomfortable truth.

Despite what you might think, it’s not a lack of resources, circumstances, or luck. Though some are certainly dealt worse hands than others, we’ve seen time and again where you start doesn’t have to determine where you finish.

The reason dreams die stems from something that, on the surface, seems far less significant.

The #1 Cause of Death for Dreams: Uncertainty

Nothing is better at keeping people trapped in unfulfilling lives and careers than uncertainty. Specifically, our unwillingness to withstand it for very long.

For most, uncertainty is like jumping into a pool of cold water. It’s a shock to the system. Our first instinct is to get out and dry off as quickly as possible.

That’s why most people avoid uncertainty at all costs.

Unfortunately, the road to most dreams is not straight and narrow. It’s full of twists and turns that obscure the way forward. There is no map. Choosing to continue forward is a constant leap of faith.

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The thought of not knowing what will happen to your finances, relationships, and social status is enough to make the average person call it quits before the journey has even begun.

This drive to avoid dealing with uncertainty imprisons us in unsatisfying careers, unhealthy relationships, and lives that are “good enough.”

But if you want to see extraordinary results in your life, learning how to deal with uncertainty the right way is essential.

And doing that requires a simple shift in perspective.

What You Must Realize About Uncertainty

When you talk to people who can legitimately say they’re “living their dreams,” they will almost never say that the biggest difference between them and the average person is extraordinary intellect or talent.

Instead, the biggest reason for their success is usually tied to an extraordinary tolerance for uncertainty and all the confusion it brings.

If uncertainty is a pool of cold water, they are the swimmers who understand that, even though it’s uncomfortable at first, their bodies will acclimate with time.

They’re able to withstand the temporary discomfort because they have made a critical realization:

The pain and confusion of uncertainty always guards the answers we seek.

Think about some of the most important inventions to date:

  • The lightbulb
  • The telephone
  • The airplane

What would’ve happened if their inventors had stopped when faced with confusion and uncertainty?

Sure, they had doubts, but they kept forging through the unknown, past the reaches of their understanding. And right when they were confused out of their minds about why nothing was working…they finally uncovered the answer.

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While dealing with uncertainty can feel overwhelmingly uncomfortable, it also presents you with a life-changing opportunity.

How to Deal with Uncertainty

Think about what usually runs through your mind when you’re dealing with uncertainty.

I don’t know what to do.

This is too hard.

I’m confused.

If you don’t find those thoughts helpful, I have good news—you can choose the way you think.

Next time, I want you to choose a different thought:

Why?

Simply ask yourself:

  • Why is this not working right now?
  • Why did this happen instead of that?
  • Why am I unsure of what to do next?

When dealing with uncertainty and confusion, asking, “Why?” is not easy. Which is exactly why most people don’t bother with it.

But when you struggle through the confusion of why, you will get closer to the root of your challenges. You will begin to shed light on the answers you couldn’t see before. Most importantly, those answers will provide the confidence you need to take another step forward in the direction of your dreams.

This is different than what most people do—and that is precisely why it leads to a result so few get to experience.

How Are You Dealing with Uncertainty?

Real quick—stop and consider the areas of your life where you’re facing uncertainty.

How are you responding to it?

Are you searching for an exit sign? Are you trying to ignore it altogether?

However you’re currently dealing with it, remind yourself—you have the power to do something different.

You can look at your situation and ask, “Why?”

You can choose to get comfortable in the midst of confusion.

It won’t be easy. In fact, I still find it difficult. But the results you’re seeking will be worth the price.

Question: What is your usual reaction to uncertainty? Leave a comment below and let me know!


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