“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. “ ― Gilda Radner
Ambiguity is frustrating.
As humans, we’re wired for cognitive closure, a desire for firm answers and an aversion toward ambiguity.
Uncertainty can create cognitive dissonance, the discomfort of holding two contradictory thoughts, feelings, or beliefs.
Ironically, though, not being able to deal with uncertainty can be equally distressing.
Infact an intolerance of uncertainty is linked to anxiety and depression.
A health crisis. A rocky marriage. A stressful job. A Career change. And all these crises can tap into our deepest fears of the uncertain, the unknowable, the unforeseen.
How do we respond? Because uncertainty is so painful, we too often seek the quickest resolution of that pain. We flee from the unhappy marriage. Quit the job. Try to escape through denial or addiction. Or, hungering for simple solutions, we bury our heads in the sands of fixed and rigid certainty.
…But there is another way !
Infact now the modern psychological science suggests that uncertainty improves your decisions, promotes empathy, and boosts creativity.
In addition to this Jamie Holmes in his book “Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing” explains that it can also be motivating. A good dose of uncertainty is helpful for your life.
So, how do you get better at tolerating it?
Here’s how to up your tolerance to improve your life and career:
- Replace expectations with plans
When you form expectations, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. You can guide your tomorrow, but you can’t control the exact outcome. If you expect the worst, you’ll probably feel too negative and closed-minded to notice and seize opportunities. If you expect the best, you’ll create a vision that’s hard to live up to.
Instead of expecting the future to give you something specific, focus on what you’ll do to create what you want to experience.
It helps you to prepare for different possibilities.
- Focus on what you can control and matters
Oftentimes, we overlook the little things we can do to make life easier while obsessing about the big things we can’t do.
When you obsess about a tomorrow you can’t control, you’re too busy judging what hasn’t happened yet to fully experience what’s happening right now. Instead of noticing and appreciating the beauty in the moment, you get trapped in a fear-driven thought cycle about the potential for discomfort down the line.
So, learning how to properly balance the many decisions on your plate. Allows you to focus your energy on the things that matter and to make more informed choices. It also removes the unnecessary pressure and distraction caused by a flurry of small worries.
Practising Mindfulness could be a way to focus your energy on what you can control and matters , but it isn’t the only approach.
- Embrace Uncertainty, a little at a time, through novelty
Embracing uncertainty, rather than seeking to banish or ignore it, is in fact the only way to utilize its power. To mine its vast potential as a source of creativity, authenticity, and personal and professional growth, as salso suggest Hoyt Hilsman and Dennis Palumbo in their book “The Power of Uncertianty”.
To get better at embracing the fuzzy future, try new things.
For example simple ways to get comfortable with uncertainty, perhaps surprisingly, are reading fiction and multicultural experiences.
Reading short stories or novels invites us inside the worlds and minds of characters unlike ourselves.
Both fiction and multicultural experiences not only lower our need for closure, but help us make better decisions, they also make us more empathetic and fuel creativity, too.
Travel, reading, learning a new language, experiencing another culture — these all present new experiences to your brain, which force you outside of your comfort zone in rewarding ways and finally they are fun.
In conlusion If you think you’ve created a predictable life for yourself, think again.
That’s an illusion. Nothing stays the same forever.
What’s coming tomorrow might fulfill you in ways you didn’t know to imagine.
What’s certain and matter is that it will come and when it gets here, you must be ready to move into another tomorrow full of endless possibilities, focusing on your possibilities, not your fear, and suddenly you feel a lot better.
Originally published at medium.com