Meeting the Unknown with Confidence

The "WIRED" approach can help us face uncertainty and while staying centered and focused.

By fizkes/ Shutterstock
By fizkes/ Shutterstock

Mindset is the number one determinant of outcomes- particularly when faced with the unknown.

As human beings, we are faced with uncertainty every day, but we try to provide ourselves with a sense of control by setting up activities that provide predictability and where we try to convince ourselves that we are having an impact.

To help deal with the unknown and uncertainty in a productive way, at Lumen Worldwide Endeavors, we have a few tips to get yourself W.I.R.E.D. for success in the face of an unpredictable future.

Worst: For those folks who are wired to be anxious, “defensive pessimism” is a technique to help reduce anxiety around uncertainty. In defensive pessimism, a person envisions the absolute worst that can happen and then prepares for that, thereby improving their performance and outcomes. If this technique works for you, it has been shown to have many positive benefits in reducing anxiety and depression and those who are prone to defensive pessimism do not generally perform worse than others.

Investigate: All of the possible fantastic outcomes should be explored by taking a glass half full approach. If you can’t come up with possible good outcomes on your own, lean on someone you know who is an optimist. By opening yourself to outcomes outside of a linear path, you may be able to identify other opportunities and gain enthusiasm.

Repeat: Repeat the area that you are concerned about and de-sensitize yourself to talking about it. If you have ever watched Harry Potter, the evil character of Voldemort is so intimidating that most of the characters refer to him as “He Who Shall Not Be Named” instead of using the name Voldemort. There is power in mystery, so demystify by repeating the concerns and adjusting to your fears.

Expectations: Set your goals not on outcomes but on setting plans to follow. There may be surprising opportunities that would be missed if you don’t open yourself up to possibilities. Focus on what you can do, rather than what is out of your control. If your efforts are focused on the experience rather than an emotional attachment to a set outcome, you are more likely to enjoy the process and journey

De-stress: There are many techniques available to help individuals reduce stress-levels. These can include mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation, exercise, finding community based activities that fuel a sense of belonging, singing, reading or any of a number of techniques can help you to find your balance when it feels like an uncertain future has you concerned. Find the technique that calls most to you and when you start to feel anxiety or concern, find ways to release endorphins and contextualize the stressors.

Ultimately, keeping perspective and not letting emotions run away are important to being productive, happy and healthy in the face of the unknown.

Originally published on

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