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A Different Way to Think About Uncertainty

So the other day my Momentum Dashboard showed me a picture of the Maldives, which catapulted me into a dream of a location-independent lifestyle where I get to work while listening to the ocean waves — the real ones, not the ones recorded on my Tide app.

So this post is a continuation of the series Transition Phases that started with, How to Survive a Transition Phase, going through Transition Phase Survival Kit, You’re the triple integral of your values, experiences and environment, and While In Rome, Forget Paris.

I’ll mainly be writing about uncertainty; that monster that opens up a can of worms in our mind that make us spiral into despair after going through a series of,

What would happen if I didn’t get another job?

What if my wife leaves me and takes the kid?

What if none of my friends picks up when I call? 

Voltaire said, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd,” because there is no such thing as certainty. I have good experience with the anxiety related to uncertainty because I exist on the negative end of the anxiety disorder spectrum, which means I worry a lot.

About everything.

Recently I was reading the work of Kathryn Budig where she wrote about her experience skydiving. The way she described it was brilliantly powerful, but the gist of the story was that she “stood on the edge of the plane and had a moment to look out into — well, nothing. This wasn’t like standing on the edge of a tall building and experiencing vertigo.This was peering out into the vast unknown, the great wide open of nada. I was legitimately moments away from wetting my pants. I went from the most terrified I’d ever been in my entire life to the most exhilarated in a matter of seconds. After the jump, it struck me like a ton of bricks — I was terrified of the unknown. My first skydive helped me to realize that the unknown isn’t terrifying, but rather a place of limitless potential.”

While I’m not a big fan of skydiving — I’m not even a big fan of roller coasters in amusement parks — because I love to feel the ground under my feet, thank you very much.

But this quote resonated with me immensely because as millennials stuck in the transition phase understand how scary the inherent uncertainty is by nature. Transition phases are preceded by the known and “followed by the vast unknown, the great wide open of nada.”

And worse of all is we’re not even accustomed to unknown variables in life, even though they’re inherently present all the time. When we were in school, we knew what had to be done to get into college, and after that, we knew the rules of cover letters, interviewing, CVs. But somewhere along the way, the game began to change, and the rules no longer applied, and we were left hanging…
“In the great wide open of nada.”

So I guess my takeaway here is to be comfortable with the uncertainty and not be crippled by fear, because the unknown will shape itself around the actions that we decide to take today, tomorrow and the day after.
So maybe there is a writing sessions on the Maldives somewhere in that great wide open of nada. There’s no way of knowing unless I work my way to there…

Who’s with me? How are you going to show up today? Leave your comments below or tweet me@ahechoes.

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Also, check out my short story collection, “All Bleeding Stops and Other Short Stories from the Kenyan Coast,” and the non-fiction book summarizing a lot of ideas in the personal development field if you want to change your life but don’t know where to start, “Mine your inner resources”.

Published inLife LessonsPersonal Development