We live in a world that is changing so rapidly. I was reading about the observations of philosopher Alan Watts who pointed out that we are living in times of unusual insecurity. He attributed this feeling to the many new technologies which science and industry are bombarding us. He also noted that many long-held traditions have broken down relative to family life, religion and the world of work.
Now for the interesting bit…. He made these observations in 1951!!! The world has escalated in uncertainty since those “good old days” World trade center attacks, financial crisis things like this have put the entire world on alert.
Add to this that we live in a society that teaches us to grasp for control at all costs – Our career, relationships, children, health, money. We insist that life be safe and predictable and only give us good things.
Truthfully, most of us don’t deal with this ‘reality’ of no control very well. We take pills, go into denial, become addicted to work, or other distraction to take our mind off the feeling we have no control.
We spend so much of our lives worrying and trying to prevent the bad from happening in our lives that we forget to enjoy the good! What a waste of a life!
So Shannon how can I control the uncertainty to be comfortable with it?
The first and most important step is to acknowledge that and surrender to the fact that you are unable to control the uncertainty, you will then, at last, be able to breathe a sigh of relief!
Once you do this you feel the peace of trying to do the impossible. This is not a case of giving up but rather a case of letting go of what you have no control over, “THE OUTCOME”. Once you let go of the delusion that you can control everything, you can move to the empowering next step of Embracing Uncertainty, rather than trying to erase uncertainty, which of course is impossible.
Ok Shannon I understand this, but I have been trying to control everything for so long and it is exhausting, how do I change?
I believe exercises are a brilliant way to shift our thinking; one extremely helpful exercise is the “I wonder” exercise.
For the next few days, replace “I hope” with “I wonder”.
Sorry… is that it Shannon, how can it be something that simple!
Ok, let’s look at it. Say you are going in to a meeting saying “I hope they like my presentation” (sure this is a step up from “I bet they won’t like my presentation, but we still feel the need to control the uncontrollable outcome”) instead think to yourself “I wonder how they will like my presentation”.
Immediately the stress of trying to ‘control’ the meeting is lifted, you will be open to feedback and if they like your presentation or not you will have gained valuable feedback and be open to opportunities and also presented in a more relaxed manner.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!