What’s Your Relationship With Uncertainty?

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Usually when someone speaks of uncertainty, you hear verbs like tolerate, handle, overcome, deal with, cope with, etc. All of these have an inherent negative spin to them. Our attitude towards uncertainty is that it is challenging and therefore, we need to learn to live with it. Hence, it is not surprising that I found the strikingly positive twist in Sri Sri’s statement, quite revolutionary. It has gotten me thinking about uncertainty and our attitude towards it. There are four main aspects to uncertainty:

“The secret to success is to marry uncertainty.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of Art of Living Foundation

  1. The Future

Uncertainty is always related to something in the future. We are never uncertain about the past or the present because we already know it. We may be uncertain of a future implication of a past or present event, but never of the past or present itself. Uncertainty of the future can lead to anxiety and fear, which drain our energy.

A simple, yet powerful mantra to embrace uncertainty is “Live in the Present”. Only one who can fully live in the present can truly embrace uncertainty.

  1. The Unknown

The biggest limitation we put on ourselves is based on what we already know. Our minds are so comfortable with what we know that the unknown causes fear and discomfort. In fact, sometimes we would much rather know something negative than be uncertain! I find this quite fascinating and believe that this tendency is rooted in the fact that the unknown makes us feel like we are not in control. We would rather feel in control in a negative situation, rather than feel out of control in uncertainty!

And yet, there is a lot in this universe that we don’t really know. When we zoom out from our little lives, opinions, and worries, we will see that the universe is such a magnificent organism and what we know is such a tiny, insignificant portion of it.

“Do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” – Rumi

  1. Desires

Uncertainty becomes even more challenging when it is related to a desire. The thought that the future may not bring what you have planned, brings along an emotional charge. It means you may need to come to terms with an unfulfilled desire.

The goal of all desires is to create happiness and yet, our desires make us unhappy in the present. If we don’t achieve what we desire, we are unhappy in the future also. If we do achieve what we want, we are happy for a brief period until we venture into the next desire and the cycle continues. Riding the horse of desires keeps us perpetually at work in the pursuit of happiness. The only way to be happy in the prospect of unfulfilled desires and the uncertainty that brings along is to decide to be happy either way!

“Now and then, it is good to pause in our pursuit for happiness and be happy!” – Unknown

  1. Imperfection

To the perfectionist in us, the very notion of uncertainty is imperfect! We spend a lot of mental and physical energy trying to remove the uncertainty and eliminate the imperfection. Fighting, resisting, or wishing it away, only makes uncertainty harder to handle.

Your relationship with uncertainty is a sign of where you are in life.

It’s complicated
You have accepted that uncertainty is a part of life but are struggling with it. You resist it, fight it, wish it away, but it keeps coming back!

Engaged
You have started down on the path of welcoming uncertainty in life. You have a positive attitude to uncertainty and your comfort zone is expanding. You have experienced growth, freedom, and joy from stretching your boundaries.

Married
You embrace uncertainty and welcome it. You live in the moment, are open to new and unknown experiences, allow life to surprise you, and take imperfections in your stride.

Our attitude towards uncertainty is a big indicator of our maturity, happiness, and success, and it could just be the reason the way our life is, the way it is.

So, what’s your relationship status with uncertainty? And more importantly, are you certain of it?

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Gowri has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, and is a researcher and intellectual property expert, based in Pennsylvania. She has been teaching breathing and meditation workshops since 2008, is passionate about women's causes and is an avid animal lover. She writes on leadership, empowerment, innovation pathways, life lessons, and healthy living.

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