The only guaranteed thing in life is uncertainty; you just can’t get around it. Generally, humans are uncomfortable with uncertainty but discomfort produces growth, and uncertainty can be a guiding light.
Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later. – Bob Goff
This is a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. Uncertainty is influenced by and influences the culture and the beliefs of people.
China has a score of 30 and this is evident in their day to day lives. According to Hofstede insights, this makes the Chinese very comfortable with ambiguity: flexible adherence to laws, ambiguous meanings in their language, and very entrepreneurial.
Egypt has a score of 80 so it has a very high tolerance for uncertainty. From Hofstede Insights rules, this makes them have an emotional attachment to rules, an incline to busyness, and precision and innovation may be resisted.
In this student’s project, they demonstrate how people with high and low uncertainty avoidance behave in everyday life situations. They put an Egyptian and Chinese student in the same situation; an interactive classroom. The Egyptian student looks for the answer of which he is 100 percent sure meanwhile the Chinese students show their answers confidently.
In my opinion, the Chinese are more likely to live a more exciting life because they embrace uncertainty. It might not be all rosy but you’ll get to live life at the highest quality.
Types of Uncertainty
Positive and Exciting: uncertainty is not a bad word, but it’s just being used out of context. The fear of the unknown can be exciting. “Fear and excitement have the same physiological sensation, it’s how our mind interprets it that decides which one it is.” Starting at a new school, a job or a business introduces some degree of uncertainty. I believe it‘s a kind of nervousness: you don’t have a fear for the future but instead a desire for it. I won’t say I love uncertainty but it makes life exciting: I feel like I’m at the edge of my seat waiting for the next thing to happen.
“Would you like to know your future? If your answer is yes, think again. Not knowing is the greatest motivator. SO enjoy, endure, and survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence- a surprise.” – Vera Nazarian
Stalemate: a stalemate is a situation in which uncertainty puts your life or an aspect of your life to a halt. According to Dictionary.com, it’s a position in which no action can be taken or progress made; a deadlock. Uncertainty doesn’t always bring challenges. Although this can be scary it presents an opportunity for stillness that can offer self-reflection.
“Solitude can reshape your life. Like a river that gets cut off from the sea. You think it’s moving somewhere but it’s not. You can drown inside yourself.” – Madeleine Thein
Negative and Soul-Crushing: uncertainty can be devastating. It brings challenges and adversity that you would have to overcome. Honestly, at that moment, there may be no bright side or light at the end of the tunnel. So how do you try to live in the moment when your whole life has been upended? You have to find a way to let the uncertainty pass through you without letting it paralyze you. It’ll help you form a vision, develop your identity and grow an attitude of learning and I’ll explain further.
Approaches to Uncertainty
- Moaning and grumbling: the fastest and easier way to respond, often done without thinking. You adopt the victim mindset and never try to change the situation.
- The laissez-faire method: it’s the path of least resistance to relax and watch how the events unfold without taking any control. You let life control you instead of you mastering it.
- Innovation and Inspiration: this involves maximum effort on your part. You have to allow the uncertainty fuel you to development, growth, and inspiration.
Uncertainty to Vision
Uncertainty stirs up a plethora of emotions: confusion, anger, fear, anxiety, discomfort, or even relief. You can’t choose your feelings about it but you can choose your response. You can control how you want to deal with it.
Sometimes uncertainty can help us refocus. There’s just something about being in a stalemate, it prompts to give birth to a new vision or renew an old one. Refocus your energy. Channel that energy that you would use to express disappointment or frustration at your situation into a brand new thing. Rely on the strength that comes from executing your dreams and vision even amid uncertainty. Keep it front and center, it’ll keep you going.
If there’s uncertainty surrounding your future, focus on what you can do now. Focus on progress. If you can make progress daily, it’ll feel elated. I know we live in a fast-paced world but it’s important to focus on your timing.
If you feel like your current dream is not moving forward, while you wait: remember that you’re not made for one dream. You’re allowed to be multi-purposed, multi-passionate, and multi-talented. I know how it feels to feel stuck, trust me, but instead of giving up I chose to look for a window of opportunity and you can too.
“What every man needs, regardless of his job or the kind of work he is doing, is a vision of what his place is and maybe. He needs an objective and a purpose. He needs a feeling and a belief that he has some worthwhile thing to do. What this is no one can tell him, it must be his creation. – Joseph Morrell Dodge
Uncertainty to Identity
Uncertainty incites growth which makes life worth living. However, it all comes down to our response. Our reaction determines whether we’ll become gold refined in the fire.
Uncertainty produces suffering, discomfort, and pain which are all known for building personal growth and character.
John Finley tells us: “Maturity of the mind is the capacity to endure uncertainty.” One thing uncertainty is sure to do is show your true behavior and personality. When you allow the discomfort to confront your being and shape you, you become stronger in your identity. It’ll bring out those pesky flaws and traits allowing you to work on them. It’s up to you. The path of challenges turns out to be the place you needed to go through.
After secondary school, there was so much uncertainty about the future for me, and although I hated that period I can’t see who I am without going through that. It transformed me into who I am today. The fear of the future made me focus on what truly mattered.
Whatever situation you might find yourself one thing you can always do is invest in yourself. Let the uncertainty improve you intellectually, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.
“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible”― Mandy Hale
Uncertainty inspires new information
An experimental study on cognition by Yale University shows how uncertainty boosts learning.
The paper demonstrates that there’s more activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex when a situation is difficult to predict, and less activity when the outcome is more certain. Daeyeol Lee tells Quartz that the brain determines whether learning is necessary for a given situation.
“When you enter a more novel and volatile environment, this might enhance the tendency for the brain to absorb more information.” Lee suggests.
Uncertainty can inspire the initiative to find new information.
Our body provides us with this initiative to learn during uncertain times. It’s up to us to take it further and immerse ourselves in the knowledge that could change our perspective or open us to new ideas. Take that inspiration to new information and engage with it to the point of doing exploits.
Feynman said “I can live with doubt and uncertainty. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong” Uncertainty pushes us to find the answers to the many questions associated with it.
Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty. – Jacob Bronowski