In times of uncertainty we are likely to feel confused, lost, bewildered, perplexed, unsure – any or all of these things. I certainly do, and it’s not surprising, especially in a time of rapid change such as now. Trust in big business and in ‘elitist’ government is low: new technologies are accelerating changes in the ways we live and work; inequality of income is widening, causing conflict and resentment.
Many of us would like to halt all this change and retreat to the way things were However, that world doesn’t exist anymore: ‘doing the same thing’ isn’t a viable option. Instead, we need to find ways of dealing with the uncertainties of change to avoid our anxieties getting out of control.
The first step is to acknowledge the inevitability of change. Even when everything seems to be chugging along in the way you are used to, it is a fact that every day starts and ends with uncertainty.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security” - John Allen Paulos.
Luvvie Ajayi’s TED talk Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable illustrates this point well – comfortable isn’t all it is cracked up to be.
However, although we have little or no control over what might be about to happen, we are resilient, and we can try to control our reactions, attitudes and behaviour.
So, acceptance is the first step, and here are some coping strategies to help control our uncertainty anxieties:
- Learn something new – swimming, Spanish, coding
- Different opinions – listen, discuss, understand, persuade and be prepared to be persuaded
- Make something – baking, sewing, gardening, robotics
- Take Action – join a cause, protest, correspond, volunteer
- Get inspired – read, music, talks – live or TEDs (Rana Abdelhamid’s Trailblazing is powerful)
- Self-care – sleep, eat well, exercise, spend time in nature, relax and have fun!
Finally, keeping a sense of humour always helps. Here’s my favourite uncertainty quote – it always makes me smile:
“We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy