Life is Terrifying. Embrace it and Explore.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind you but we’re all going to die. Death is scary to think about. We know the inevitability of it but when, where, how are all questions we can only hypothesis. I try not to see the world in black and white; death being a rare exception. It’s dangerous to place yourself there. Absolutes generally limit your ability to see the opportunity in the world and grow. Personally, I can’t see a worse thing you could do to yourself. But there is one absolute that always seems to catch me off guard; uncertainty.
What is Uncertainty?
Uncertainty is that slow creep in your gut when you make a major change, the lightheadedness when you try something that makes you uncomfortable, that pause midway through a sentence wondering if you said the right thing. I’ve been thinking about the idea of uncertainty for a long time. What does uncertainty mean to an individual? Uncertainty is being vulnerable and vulnerability is something many of us have a hard time dealing with it. We’re afraid of opinions, our image, a lack of belief in ourselves. We hate to be vulnerable because we feel exposed, like taking your hands off the steering wheel and losing control.
I want to make the case that it’s not that we lose control but regain it.
I said earlier that absolutes generally limit you but sometimes you can use them to your advantage and it all comes down to shifting your perspective. You’re going to die. Perfect, stop giving yourself reasons why you can’t do what you want and start trying. Want to explore the world? Then go. Same applies to uncertainty. When you choose to embrace uncertainty, you choose to stop being in the passenger seat of life. You choose to put both hands on the wheel and regain your agency. I promise you if you’re truly embracing it, it will hurt. You’ll face rejection, failure, frustration but my question for you is, would you rather look back on your life and have lived a life filled with mistakes or a life filled with regrets?
Use Uncertainty as a Compass
It seems many of us are in this pursuit of something bigger than ourselves but it feels so difficult to solidify what that means. We feel lost and confused and often prevent ourselves from taking action; we become a slave to overthinking. We don't take action because we're unsure, we fear the uncertainty of our actions. One of the ironies of life is that often the things we want most are on the other side of fear. We shy away from it and run the other direction but know that you can use that fear of the unknown as a compass. This compass won’t give you meaning but it does provide you with direction to test out.
YOUR ABILITY TO SPARK CHANGE IN THE WORLD IS PROPORTIONATE TO YOUR ABILITY TO WEATHER UNCERTAINTY.
In essence, if you want to create meaningful change you’re going to have to take risks. Your growth and ability to impact the world grows with the level of risk you’re willing to take. In writing this I’m taking a risk. There will be people that disagree and I wholeheartedly welcome those disagreements. It takes courage to state what you believe. Often we choose to keep to ourselves not because we don’t have something to say but because saying something puts you in the spotlight. There is only one thing we truly have control over and that is yourself. The world will always find a way to take a jab at you. It’s your choice if you let it diminish your ambition, happiness, momentum, whatever you want to call it.
Let's Wrap This Up
There is no guidebook to this. No framework. No secret sauce. I wish I could tell you I had the answers but I’m still figuring it out. My biggest tip is give honesty a try. Tell the world how you really feel and try to be honest with yourself. I think we’re all a little-lost inside and that’s okay. I have a saying I often tell myself, “it’s okay to be lost, to stop looking is not.” Don’t forget there is an infinite amount of ways your life can play out so put your hands back on the wheel, embrace uncertainty, keep exploring and keep growing.