That un­cer­tain feel­ing

We want to be in con­trol of our lives, but life isn’t al­ways like that

Life & Style Weekend - - MIND - BY Rowena Hardy

IT OF­TEN hap­pens for me that themes ap­pear in what I’m read­ing or through my coach­ing work and re­cently that theme has been un­cer­tainty. It’s an in­ter­est­ing one for var­i­ous rea­sons. As hu­mans, we feel safer and more in con­trol when there is some cer­tainty in our life. Yet life is un­cer­tain and I ex­pect many of you have ex­pe­ri­enced just how quickly things can change and throw our lives into tur­moil. Sud­denly ev­ery­thing is un­cer­tain. The brain works against us here to a cer­tain ex­tent be­cause, crav­ing cer­tainty and un­able to find any, it sets about cre­at­ing it. Sounds like a great strat­egy, doesn’t it? Ex­cept it’s flawed be­cause the way it does it is to cre­ate a fu­ture based on its past ex­pe­ri­ence.

For ex­am­ple, if you are go­ing for a job in­ter­view or a first date or meet­ing a new client your brain will re­fer to what it knows al­ready and make as­sump­tions. So if a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view, date or new client meet­ing went re­ally well, your brain will as­sume the same re­sult, which is okay. How­ever if a pre­vi­ous sim­i­lar event went badly then your brain will as­sume it’s all go­ing to go hor­ri­bly wrong and can cre­ate anx­i­ety.

While the first ex­am­ple of go­ing well feels bet­ter than the go­ing badly one, they are both in­cor­rect be­cause they are both as­sump­tions and we know that as­sump­tion can cause havoc at the best of times. Not help­ful. Af­ter all, this is a dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion, dif­fer­ent per­son and we may have moved on and changed things since the last sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence. So know­ing that this hap­pens is one thing, but what are we to do about it? My two main sug­ges­tions would be to cre­ate what­ever cer­tainty is pos­si­ble and start get­ting more com­fort­able with un­cer­tainty. A sim­ple ex­am­ple of cre­at­ing cer­tainty would be if some­one says they’ll do some­thing for you but isn’t spe­cific. That may cre­ate un­cer­tainty for you so you need more in­for­ma­tion about when. Get­ting more com­fort­able with un­cer­tainty might in­clude mak­ing no plans for the next day and al­low­ing things to un­fold; some­times we can get caught up in want­ing things to be pre­dictable and cer­tain and we miss out

Some per­son­al­ity types are nat­u­rally com­fort­able with some un­cer­tainty; oth­ers are def­i­nitely not...

on spur of the mo­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and ran­dom sur­prises. Some per­son­al­ity types are nat­u­rally com­fort­able with some un­cer­tainty; oth­ers are def­i­nitely not so also look for ways in which you can cre­ate some cer­tainty for those around you. Over­all the best ap­proach is to plan for, fo­cus on and work to­wards the fu­ture that you do want with as much cer­tainty as you have at the time. Even though it may not turn out ex­actly as planned there will be plenty to learn along the way.

Rowena Hardy is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, per­for­mance coach and part­ner of Minds Aligned: www.mind­


Un­cer­tainty is a part of life but some per­son­al­ity types deal with it bet­ter than oth­ers.

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