Some would argue that certainty is just an illusion anyway – that uncertainty is our normal state.
Still, I’m pretty certain that I’m writing this, you’re reading this, and the sun will rise tomorrow. Not everything, though, is quite so clear.
There are those whose health has taken a turn for the worse. They’re waiting for tests, a diagnosis, treatment, or recovery.
There are those whose relationships are in trouble, with teenagers challenging boundaries or partners growing apart.
There is uncertainty at work. More than one sector has taken a recent turn for the worse. Layoffs are common and restructuring is afoot.
World events (including the recent US election) have created turmoil and upset for many.
So, when the future is uncertain, other than stew, what can you do?
Action: Here are seven strategies to help you cope with the challenge of not knowing.
- Take very, very good care of yourself – sleep, eat, exercise. The basics always matter.
- Be curious and seek facts. Once you have info in hand, turn down the volume and frequency on the news flow. Stop the continuous replay of what’s already known; and tune out endless speculation by those not in the know.
- Manage what you can (set boundaries, reduce expenses, tweak skills). Fret less about things over which you have no control.
- Prepare yourself for potential bad news. Things could go sideways. And, even more importantly, in the absence of confirming information, focus on the possibility of a positive outcome.
- Recall your past successes in navigating tough times. Appreciate all the things on the plus side of life’s ledger.
- Keep your eyes, ears, heart, and mind open to possibilities.
- Release the stress. Note your thoughts and feelings. Reach out for support. Share a laugh wherever you can find one.
Quotes Of The Week: In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on. – Robert Frost
I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything. – Richard Feynman
Can you endure your uncertainty until it shows you another way? – Mark Nepo
When nothing is sure, everything is possible. – Margaret Drabble
Resource Of The Week: Studies have shown that we each have a baseline level of comfort—or discomfort—with ambiguity and uncertainty. However, when we’re tired or feeling the pressure of time, we can significantly and dangerously increase our need for closure.
Jamie Holmes is the author of: Nonsense – The Power of Not Knowing. This link will take you to his 15 Question Quiz to help you explore how comfortable you are with ambiguity.
Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, What’s Your Impact Going To Be Today, Pause reader CM writes: I really enjoyed the Precious Moments video. What a great idea, and what lovely uplifting photos. It made my day and, in line with the theme of this week’s message, it had a very positive impact on my outlook for today! Thanks for sharing!
Special Offer Of The Season: Click here for the details on this year’s Seasonal Bundle Offer – and my solution for a few of your gift giving challenges.