Comfortable With Uncertainty
How to live with uncertainty.
The current pandemic is the epitome of uncertainty. We are being asked to self-quarantine and to practice social distancing to stop the spread of the virus. However, we don’t know how long this will last or how bad things will get. Uncertainty is scary. To help combat the feelings of uncertainty, we seek out help.
Lessons from Improvisation
Improvisation is uncertainty. On an improv stage, there’s no telling what will develop. To handle this level of uncertainty, the creators of improv created some guidelines to make it easier for improvisers.
If you are not listening, you cannot develop a storyline. When you build a trusted group of people around you, you have to listen to one another to keep the story going. You do not have to agree with everyone, but you should hear them out. Right now, they are in the same or similar situation. This pandemic should be a unifier of human connection.
Do not judge. This is true now and always. Judgment is not helpful. Be supportive and interested in others. Keep those who do the same close.
Saying yes to whatever is happening on the stage is an age-old trick to keep the plot moving and expanding. This is a true collaboration. Collaboration is essential now more than ever. It is not about being right or wrong. It is about working together to make our world safe again.
Lessons from Successful People
As we confront uncertainty, our brains overreact. Successful people can reverse this and drive their thinking in a rational direction. This shows emotional intelligence. There are strategies that you can use to challenge the decisions you make.
Organize Your Thoughts
When you’re faced with uncertainty, your brain has the knee-jerk reaction toward panic, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you can pause for a moment and organize your thoughts into rational and irrational, you can start to grasp the situation. Push the irrational aside and focus only on the rational.
Positive thoughts quiet fear and irrational thinking by focusing your brain’s attention. You have to help your mind out and give it any positive thought that could refocus your attention. When you’re stressing this is difficult to accomplish, but you can turn it around. Think of something positive that has happened to you, anything. The point is to have something good to draw your attention.
I recently listened to a podcast by Karen Unrue, and in the podcast, she compares our need for control to a big tree. The tree weathers storm after storm and the critters living their lives amongst the branches. It stands strong because it has rooted itself deeply in the soil. Like the tree, we need to deeply root ourselves in positive thought and embrace uncertainty because it will come, and we will be ready.
Perfection Is Not Real
Perfection is not the target of successful people because they know it does not exist. We are fallible. If perfection is your goal, you will always be left wanting. So, why waste your time grieving your failure when you could be enjoying what you’ve accomplished.
Don’t Ask What-If
Asking, “What if,” is the equivalent of throwing gasoline on an already roaring fire of fear and anxiety. The more you worry about what could happen, the less time you have to focus on taking care of yourself or others. Remember to focus on what is important in your life.
The ability to manage uncertainty is one of the most important skills you can cultivate in an increasingly uncertain world. Try the lessons above, and your ability to handle uncertainty should take a step in the right direction.