We Need To Make Friends With Uncertainty

We Need To Make Friends With Uncertainty

03 May 11:00 by Alan Jarque


There are so many things to worry about in the world at the moment. Britain might leave the European Union. The Chinese real estate bubble could burst and send the world into a deep depression. Robots are going to take over our jobs. Donald Trump could be elected….

Woe betide us, what are we going to do if this all happens? The press has a field day fuelling our deepest insecurities, and we all spend far too much time “grazing” on the latest panicky news story when we should be doing something useful.

Why do we need to think about these things so often? Yes, we don’t know what might happen in the future, but why let these thoughts dominate our present? There is something comforting about worrying about uncertainty, it makes us feel that we will be more prepared for it if it happens, but in reality, all it does is distract us from what we should be doing in the here and now.

At the start of the 2008 recession, the productivity of the world must have taken a horrendous dip. Entire offices were transfixed by plummeting stock prices, analysing the latest company failures and imagining multiple potential scenarios for their personal circumstances. Everyone will have been worrying about potential redundancies, but, in reality, it will only have happened to a small percentage. Rather than concentrate on doing the best possible job at work, many people will have been scanning the employment market for signs of life.

Uncertainty makes people pause. Multiple uncertainties can make them shudder to a halt.

In the age of disruption, change should be expected, but not anticipated. Too much energy is wasted in attempting to anticipate too many unlikely scenarios that never come to pass. We should be ready to react to change, of course, but not before it has actually happened.

Making friends with uncertainty is about greeting it as an opportunity to make your life better. The current movement of the “gig economy” would not be such a force if it weren’t for the 2008 recession giving millions of people no choice but to “got it alone.” Those, who weren’t consumed by worry, seized the opportunity, and many reaped the subsequent rewards. The employment market will seemingly never be the same again – in every uncertain event, there is the potential for rebirth.

When uncertainty becomes fact, it is a time for cool heads and rational decisions rather than fear-based emotional knee-jerks. Yes, your life will be affected, yes, you will have to do things differently, but there is a whole host of ways in which you can thrive through any new circumstances. If you have exhausted yourself with worry before the event, you won’t have the mental capacity to make sound decisions. If your mind is focused and resolute, and uncertainty can be greeted like a new friend rather than an old enemy.

Reacting to uncertainty is in your hands. Don’t react until the uncertain becomes certain!