Four ways of dealing with change and uncertainty

Four ways of dealing with change and uncertainty

“You will not win the fight against uncertainty by becoming uncertain. You will not find your stability by trying to make the unstable, stable. Instead your certainty and stability will come as the result of decidedly embracing uncertainty.” ~ Teal Swan

Who likes dealing with uncertainty? Most certainly not many of us. You don’t know if you will wake up with the same attitude as last night or if your business will make profits. But, let’s accept it, there is no way out of it.

Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Sometimes it’s called delicious ambiguity (Gilda Radner). We obviously can’t see the future, so it’s almost impossible to predict what and how things are going to happen in our lives.

We panic when faced with such situation or thinking about such situations, knowing fully well that our anxiety can worsen either the situation or our ability to handle the situation. And yet, we almost feel minuscule in the effort to overcome or overpower it. But, dealing with uncertainty is almost a certain, unavoidable part of daily life.

As a rule, we all prefer certainty over uncertainty. Intolerance of uncertainty is almost like a psychological allergy. And those with this allergy, tend to presume things, get anxious, seek reassurance and get paranoid about everyone and every situation almost to a point that life becomes miserable.

While that is the case of a few, there are few others who live in a false world of delusion or denial. Often saying “That won’t happen to me, or I am fully prepared to avoid a certain situation in life.”

But ironically, life has a funny way of proving us wrong. And it is this uncertainty, that’s life’s way of saying that there are only a few things you can control.

It’s not the unpredictability or the uncertainty per se which is the biggest challenge in life. It is how we embrace the uncertainty that is the biggest hurdle. That is what makes or breaks us. It is good to understand that when uncertainty meets life, infinite possibilities open up in your life.

And when you are open minded, even when everything is falling apart, you realise the game is not yet over and you somehow get the power and resources to overcome the same. Here are four ways of dealing with change and uncertainty:

1. Embrace chaos:

Chaos is the law of nature; order is the dream of man. What we imagine as order, is just the prevailing form of chaos. Chaos exists everywhere, in business, in relations, in career, in education, at work or even within ourselves. So much so that, it sometimes puts you into discomfort. You don’t know what’s happening, you don’t know what’s going to happen, you feel it is complicated, and sometimes you just can’t keep pace with it. Embracing the chaos, the nimbleness and the things that you can’t control is your first step in taming uncertainty.

2. Embrace uncertainties as opportunities of growth:

Try to imagine a life where there are no uncertainties, everything goes as per plan and everything is smooth and clear. You may paint a picture perfect, but it would hardly be that. Where there are no uncertainties, there are no opportunities for growth.

All the creativity and innovation in the world would be killed, you would just be so complacent and content with life that stagnation would hit you hard. You can almost forget growth as an option. When faced with uncertain situations, think positively, use your past wisdom, be open to taking feedback and more importantly recognise the opportunity that it brings you.

3. Avoid panicking and take chances:

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it. And in that bid to control, we first panic, then we make random choices and assume that’s the only solution. It is important to understand that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. It is important to take chances — live and not get hung up on the past. The past is called the past for a reason. If you are constantly looking behind you, your eyes aren’t on the road ahead.

4. Avoid over analysing, life is not math:

You’ve got to be willing to lose everything to gain yourself. You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months over analysing a situation — that exists or just in your head — trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened, or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move on.

Life may look complex, but it is our analysis and our choices that make it complex. Over analysing, over thinking and over reacting are to be avoided at any cost. So don’t freeze, keep moving, be bold.

Remember, the only thing that makes life possible is permanent intolerable uncertainty, not knowing what comes next. Take the challenge head on.

Sri is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited, a capacity building organisation coaching youth and SME owners across Africa. @Sbharatam or.

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