Embrace Uncertainty

Do we know anything for sure? When you really think about this
question, it becomes rather daunting… especially in these hard economic
times, when people are questioning whether anything really lasts. How
can anyone ever know anything for sure? But some people do – at least,
they think they do.

They brag about how they’re positive that their risotto is the most authentic. Or that their job is the worst – or that their religious path, political candidate or favorite sports team is unparalleled. These are all intriguing, inspiring possibilities, but they are not absolutes.

Set in stone
Sometimes, it’s necessary to reassess these supposedly proven ideals – and maybe modify them. Think about all the times this has happened to you. You were so sure that the apartment you rented was perfect, and then you outgrew it – and looked elsewhere to live. You thought the guy you’d been dating was the one you’d marry, start a family with and grow old with – only to break things off before you’d even walked down the aisle. Or perhaps you thought the career you’d chosen was the right one for you, only to stumble upon another one that made you feel more fulfilled. So what does all of this mean?

Escape clause
It’s when you opened yourself to change that you wound up on a different (probably more suitable) path. Your life path should usually should be the path of least resistance – literally. Why put up brick walls that impede your progress? Without leaving yourself an escape clause – the option to change your mind (which is anyone’s prerogative, right?) – you force yourself to stick to your guns, even when you realize it may not be what you ultimately want or need. This can be true of jobs, relationships, where you live – and even friends who are not good for you.

The more you know…
So maybe it’s uncertainty itself that we need to embrace – the sense that you really can’t be sure about “everything,” because life is an ever-changing painting of many palettes. When you give in to this possibility, you open up your options. That movie/song/artwork that you’ve always claimed was your favorite may just be replaced by another one five years down the road. That vegan diet you’ve been following since your college years might open up to accept some cheese now and then, or your lifelong decision to never have children could just change once your biological clock starts ticking more loudly.

Living life in a mindset of “absolutes” instills a sense of rigidity that is often hard to escape. Why impose too many restrictions on yourself? It’s all right to be almost sure about something – because that way you give yourself some wiggle room, in case your views alter.

An exercise…
Try this in a quiet moment. Make a list of 10 things that you’re absolutely certain about. Now, being completely objective, review each item on the list, and honestly ask yourself what it would take for you to become less than certain about them. You’re not being negative – just looking for an honest, hypothetical response. Do any of those responses seem plausible? If so, congratulations! You’ve just embraced uncertainty! Now there’s less pressure to live up to a list of your own making.

You will feel a sense of freedom from this exercise, because you’ve just given yourself permission to live your life with a more open mind, less self-imposed stress, and the possibility of changing your path, if you so desire. Good luck!

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