I think we live in a culture that thrives on certainty.
We are obsessed with contracts, schedules and plans. We always seem to want to know what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen.
And I guess not all of this is bad! Don’t get me wrong, contracts for example are very important. I send contracts out almost every single day for work, the problem however I feel like is that we are TOO dependent on having certainty in our lives.
When I was in 7th grade, I was determined to go to the NBA. It’s the only thing I wanted to do with my life. I practiced like crazy. I prepared for years. The NBA was my plan and it was a pretty freaking good plan if you ask me, so I never worried about much else.
Then in high school, I realized that I was only 5’10, an average athlete and I was constantly getting injured. Maybe the NBA wasn’t my plan.
So I switched to education. I wanted to be a highschool leadership teacher and serve in the same way so many amazing people served me.
But once I got into school, the time and energy commitment was too much for me. I wanted to do other things, I wanted to speak, I wanted to create a business, I wanted to create books. So I dropped out of college.
And if leaving school has taught me anything at all, it’s to…
GET COMFORTABLE NOT KNOWING.
Because my whole life I have always had a plan, I had a process and better yet, I had people on all sides of my life helping me get there. Now it’s like I am in completely new territory Adventuring the land of the unknown sometimes all on my own.
Each day is new. Each day is fresh. And there is absolutely ZERO guarantees at this point in my life.
Some months I am making thousands of dollars working just a few days and spending money like crazy. Then the next week, I am scraping by just to pay rent. Now obviously I hold some of this weight because let’s just say that my saving skills aren’t exactly “up to par,” but the hardest part is I live each day with uncertainty.
Uncertainty that dominates my mind.
Uncertainty that controls my thoughts.
Uncertainty that drains my energy.
And I know that I am not the only one. I think one of the biggest causes of stress and anxiety we have is uncertainty.
I mean think about it, life would be a whole lot easier if we knew how everything was going to happen. Life might seem a whole lot better if we knew how and what to do at all times. But I might suggest, a life of certainty may be easier, but it is certainly a lot less fun.
What’s the point in knowing what’s next? What’s the purpose of having some big fat plan that is bound to fail anyways? Why not instead tip toe into uncertainty.
Take a deep breath and realize that you do not have control over everything that happens in life.
It’s a lot like getting on a roller coaster I think.
Now if you are anything like me, you hate roller coasters. I can’t stand them. They freak me out and make me sick. I just sit in line freaking out for 20 minutes working up a sweat and then once I’m on the ride it only gets worse. I tense up my whole body and lock my legs. I won’t even scream, I will just be holding on for dear life all while quietly trying to keep it together.
In some ways, I think I am trying to control my experience. I am trying to hold myself in place and be prepared for what is coming next. A ridiculous idea when roller coaster are quite literally designed so that you do not know what’s coming next.
The people that seem to enjoy roller coasters the best are the ones who seek the thrills. They openly express their nerves and anxiety and rather than get scared by them, seem to be more excited by them. Then once they are on the ride they are shaking with excitement and basically screaming before the ride even begins. Once it’s moving they throw their hands in the air and slide back and forth with the ride usually screaming the entire time.
I think we need to start approaching life more like the people who like roller coasters.
Rather than wait in line slowly building ourselves to a panic and locking our legs and tensing up once we are on the ride, why not instead choose to let go. Submit to the fact that you can’t be in control of all things. Turn yourself into a life adrenaline junky.
I think this is actually easier than it sounds too, I think it starts by:
- Taking calculated risks
- Expecting problems but not accepting problems
- Inviting people on the ride with you
- Throwing your hands in the air and screaming
Let’s all find ways to GET COMFORTABLE NOT KNOWING and stop concerning ourselves with problems that we cannot even control.
Just sit back and enjoy the ride.