It may sound like a cliche, but uncertainty is a part of life. Even
before these hard economic times, it was possible to unexpectedly lose
a job, suffer a breakup or to get into an accident. That’s because
there are no guarantees in life!
As terrifying as that can seem, it’s also what allows us to reach outside the status quo and shoot for the stars – even if the odds are stacked against us. We all create our own destinies, whether they come to us in exactly the form we’re expecting, or not.
Try this three-step approach to tackling life’s uncertainties- any one of them can make your life easier, simply because you’ll find yourself better prepared for whatever happens – and, when the time comes, more willing to take the right risks.
1. You can’t know everything
If we knew every single little thing awaiting us around the corner, life would be unbearably dull. Yet by changing the way you see life’s curveballs, you can alter how you handle them. So, from now on, instead of worrying about events you can’t foresee – or letting those that occur send you into a prolonged state of shock and immobility – try to see unexpected events as opportunities.
Perhaps getting laid off will put you in a position to go back to school and find a job you like better – or make more money in. Maybe getting dumped is a chance to reconnect with yourself and your deepest desires, before finding a mate who is suited to a more fully realized you. Seemingly bad things often wind up teaching us valuable lessons and setting us on the paths we should have been on in the first place.
Likewise, even in “good” times, don’t let fear of the unknown get in the way of going after your goals. After all, while certain success is never a given, there’s also no such thing as certain failure, either! It’s up to you to chase your dreams – and sometimes that involves a little risk.
2. Best and worst
When faced with uncertain outcomes, many of us get paralyzed. After all, without knowing what to expect, it’s best to keep a low profile and do nothing, right? Wrong! In times of flux (and any time, really), the best way to combat your anxiety is to be active.
If you’re having trouble knowing how to act in any given situation (say, whether to make a change or stay put), why not ask yourself the same questions about the alternative choice? What’s the best that can happen if you do what you’re considering and – and what’s the worst? Now see how your answers compare.
It could be that sticking with the status quo will not lead to the change you’re seeking. And if things go wrong, you may not be any worse off than you are today. Even if you are – can you live with never having pursued your goal? Set aside your fear of the unknown, and repeat to yourself this fundamental truth – without risk, there is never any reward!
3. Baby steps
Often we make the mistake of thinking that huge changes are required to make progress in life. Not so. In fact, by taking small, active steps toward a larger goal, we make achieving it more likely by giving ourselves the opportunity to reposition and regroup if things don’t go our way. Whether it’s trying a class before enrolling in a program, or asking for a raise before looking for a better-paying job in a field you’re less interested in, one thing’s for certain – doing nothing definitely won’t get you where you want to go. Doing something just might make a difference.
So what’s stopping you? This is your life we’re talking about! Throw caution to the wind every once in a while, and simply go for it.
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