How do you cope with not knowing?
In a digital age where we can have answers at our finger tips, there’s something unsettling about situations where we just. don’t. know.
21st century living has been described as VUCA:
One of the reasons, Margriet Sitskoorn explains, may be that on a daily basis, we unconsciously demand a lot from our brains. We are flooded with information, and in our current media climate the boundary between fact and fiction is not always clear – Sitskoorn says “whats in today, is out tomorrow, and tomorrow makes today obsolete”. It makes the world we live in seem unstable, unreliable, intricate and confusing.
When we have too much choice, this can lead to “analysis paralysis” – research supports that we struggle so much with the sheer volume of decisions we have to make, that we can freeze in the face of it.
It makes perfect sense if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
When you’re in limbo, the outcome might not be yours to define, whether it’s waiting for test results, or to hear if you got that job you wanted. We also know that uncertainty’s closest cousin is risk, and that our comfort zone can hold us back. So what do we do?
This week, set the intention to Risk Forward. Recognise what you’re feeling, whether it’s frustration or anxiety, give it a name and label it without judgement. Try not to get caught up in the commentary in your mind about why you’re feeling it, just notice that it’s there. Then acknowledge what you can do, rather than focusing on what you can’t. Appreciate the positive action you’ve already taken and then try some mindfulness or create a mantra that keeps you focused in the present moment. (I call this creating a “Not-Knowing Plan”; you can find a mindfulness activity and mantra in my article here). Then take a small step forward, get comfortable in the unknown. You might find your balance in realising you’re free from being frozen, and then you’re on your way.
If you’ve tried the “yes” and it’s not working, maybe it’s time you tried the “no”. Victoria Labalme explains the Risk Forward in this video and that each of us has an inner current called a “Through-Line” that runs through us, that keeps us moving in the right direction.
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©️ Copyright Delphi Ellis 2019