Human beings crave certainty like they crave chocolate or ice cream. While you can easily satisfy your craving for sweets, it is not so easy to satisfy your longing for certainty in uncertain times. Many people try to gain clarity by reducing the complex nature of the world they live in.
- In work environments, we seek to find simple solutions to challenging problems.
- In our relationships, we pigeon-hole the other person in order to make sense of their behavior.
- With big social and cultural issues, we tend to name a single source as the problem. (If we just fixed this one thing, everything would be better.)
Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, our efforts rarely take away the nagging doubts we have about the future.
Listed below are three considerations for living well in uncertain times. Practicing these three things won’t make uncertainty go away, but it will give you some tools for living well when uncertainty overwhelms you.
Learn to Focus Your Thoughts
When we are uncertain, our thoughts are often all over the map. It is easy, for example, to be attracted to the worst-case scenarios during these times. While it is helpful to know the possible futures ahead, becoming attached to the worst-case scenarios will not help you move forward in productive ways.
By sitting in stillness and taking deep breaths you can begin to calm your body and suspend judgment initially to truly examine what information you have and what thoughts best serve you. Is this easy to do? Of course not. But it doesn’t change that this is our work.
To suspend judgment, ask yourself the question, “What is this?”
This question invites discovery and inquiry. Begin to explore what thoughts most serve you at this moment. What thoughts will allow you to move forward with my day? Most of my thoughts that best serve us are focused on where do I have the power to influence the kind of day we most want to have.
Learn to Focus Your Actions on Life-Giving Actions
Life-giving actions are those actions that help you and others thrive and flourish in the world. These actions are acts of loving-kindness. I have found that when I am stressed about my future, caring for others can be a powerful grounding force that helps counter my fear.
Sometimes life-giving actions are about removing yourself from toxic relationships that diminish you.
For every action you take ask yourself the question, “Will this action make the world around me a better place?” Sometimes we may not know the answer to this question. If you don’t know, experiment and learn from your experiments.
This question serves us in many situations like when we are interacting with our kids, paying our bills, or volunteering with a community organization.
You Were Born to Soar
The human spirit desperately wants to soar. Soaring means that you align your gifts, talents, experiences, and skills toward your highest, best version of your self you can be. To do this you must pay attention and become aware of what your talents and gifts truly are.
Differentiate talent from skills and passions. Not all our passions are necessarily gifts or talents. By knowing what truly drives you and motivates you in the world, you are more likely to engage around those things in productive life-giving ways. Being proactive in this way builds momentum and focuses your energies even when it is difficult to know what lies ahead.
Practice these things and will begin to diminish fear. Fear is what ultimately paralyzes us and makes us vulnerable to the world around by limiting our actions and choices. By shifting from a fear-based orientation to a creative life-giving orientation, you will begin to see that within uncertainty, lies opportunity.
The 12 Life-Giving Habits Program provides services and resources designed to help you experience an Amazing Year. Led by the founder and president Kevin “Doc” Klein, a thirty-five year veteran of Outward Bound, our team of passionate educators and entrepreneurs is constantly finding ways to help people of all ages thrive and flourish. It is our mission and our aspiration to create a movement of compassionate citizens who are in service of lifting individuals and communities up to their highest aim.
Download our free 12 Life-Giving Habits ebook to learn more great habits for an amazing year.