The Certainty of Uncertainty and the Promise of Possibility

“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain or definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: love, belonging, trust, joy and creativity to name a few.”  ~Brené Brown

If there’s one thing that’s certain in life, it’s that change happens.  People will change, relationships will change, jobs will change, our health will change and in many ways, we ourselves are constantly changing. Many times, change brings with it a state of uncertainty and that can make us feel pretty uncomfortable. I’d like to suggest that we start to embrace this feeling of uncertainty and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Here’s why:

Seeking certainty is another form of trying to control the uncontrollable. We want absolute assurance in an effort to try to control the circumstances or people around us.  Of course, the inherent problem is that most of the time we have no ability to control the circumstances surrounding us and we certainly never have the ability to control anyone else. Certainty is defined as a fact about which there is no doubt. It leaves no room for anything but the absolute truth and there are very few things in this life that would realistically fall into that category.

Another reason to embrace uncertainty is that when we are uncomfortable, we are our most creative. It’s really only when we get outside of our comfort zone that we begin looking for alternative options and unique perspectives. When everything is going along as planned, we rarely make changes in our lives – typically just seeking more of the same. It’s when things don’t go according to our grand plan or something or someone completely unfamiliar and unexpected comes along that causes us to get really inspired and resourceful. As an example, it’s when people are out of work that some of the best, most creative new business ventures are formed.

Embracing uncertainty also provides you the possibility of something great. Often times, we assume that uncertainty will lead to something bad, or at least something that won’t be as good as what was previously. But that’s not always the case.  When we open ourselves to possibilities, we open the door for really positive people and experiences to enter our lives. Think about it, when the future is uncertain, it’s at least as likely to be good as it is bad and who knows…….it could lead to something amazing that you had never envisioned before. You could be wishing for a $5000 raise when the possibility is a $15,000 raise and promotion.

Something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately is the act of intention and surrender. For recovering control freaks like me, this is something I have to work at daily. This involves stating our intention so that we’re very clear about what it is we’re seeking and why it’s important to us and then, most importantly, the deliberate act of releasing it. To truly surrender means we can’t be tied to exactly what the outcome will look like. It means we have to release that grasping, controlling energy. We have to be open to possibility and embrace uncertainty. It means we have to trust that God and the universe (sometimes I use them interchangeably) knows what it is we want and believe that He has one of 3 answers for us:

  • “Yes”
  • “Yes, but not right now,” or
  • “No, I have something even bigger in store for you.”

There can be real peace in opening ourselves to possibility; it may even lead to something bigger than we could have envisioned for ourselves. As a life coach, I’ve learned that once we get comfortable with the idea that we don’t know what the future holds and all we have is this minute, we are able to start living our lives from a place of freedom. We’re no longer worried about the future or regretting the past.   We can live in the certainty of uncertainty and the promise of possibility.