By Shelley Stile
“If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic.”
Hazel Henderson (Economist, writer and syndicated columnist)
The universe is in a constant state of flux. Nothing ever remains the same. In this respect we are a mirror of the universe. Look back on your life and see how it has been one change after another laced with constant uncertainty. Just when you think things have settled in they change again. I remember thinking how my life had dramatically altered when I married. Then boom! We moved, we had a child and my ex got a new job. Our heads were swimming. We sat down and realized that this was life: a succession of one change after the other with absolutely no guarantees on our future. We just had to roll with it.
My life has continued to change. I had another child, retired, went back to work, moved again, got divorced and moved yet again. I sent my son off to college and my daughter is now in high school. So I learned to recognize and accept the fact that that nothing remains static: that goes against the laws of physics. As a human being, we need to accept the law of change. Not only the law of change but also the law of uncertainty.
We live with the fact that we do not know what will happen in life from one minute to the next. I may plan on attending a play tonight but there is no guarantee that I actually will. I might get sick, the car might not start, the lead actor might fall down and break a leg…who knows? I may marry with the highest intention of my marriage lasting a lifetime but it might not work out that way. Obviously I did not get married so I could get divorced! My intentions were honorable and loving but sometimes things do not work out we way we planned or expected.
So once again life hands us a choice: do we live in fear of the uncertainty of the future or do we choose to believe that our future might just be better than our past? Do we choose to look for all the things that might go wrong or do we choose to look at the new possibilities available to us now? Do we choose to be pessimistic or do we choose to be optimistic and hopeful? Do we choose to accept uncertainty as a fact of life and move forward in the not knowing or do we choose to be paralyzed by uncertainty? Do we choose to acknowledge how our attitude on life impacts us or do we choose to bury our heads in the sand?
If we want our future to look a certain way then we need to take charge. Uncertainty is always part of the process of taking charge and moving on. Courage to me is living with uncertainty. Our perspective or attitude on life not only changes the way we think but also changes our reality. I myself do not ascribe to the extreme belief of ‘The Secret’ wherein one can create their desires if they just think it to be but I do believe that our attitudes do shape our future and the attainment of our goals.
Just think of a person you may have known in your life who never achieved much due to their fears. I know a young man who has not ventured forth from his hometown, who works in a dead-end job, and who doesn’t make any attempts to make new friends all because he is afraid. I cannot ell you if he is afraid of what might happen if he tries something new and different. Perhaps he is afraid of failing, of looking foolish, of rejection or any number of other reasons. The reasons aren’t as important as the fact that his fears have paralyzed and kept him painted into a little world. He feels secure in that little world even if he is miserable most of the time. He will never know what might have occurred had he made the effort.
I always ask my new clients the following question: What would you regret never having done in your life? Notice that this question does not state what do you regret having done in the past but rather the question ask you to look to your future. Think long and hard about this question. Would you regret never having traveled abroad? Would you regret never having found happiness again? Would you regret never having lived by the sea? Would you regret never having a career in radio?
Life is all about change, uncertainty, making choices and taking charge. Take back control of your life by accepting the facts of life. You can play a very active role in your future by creating an attitude that serves you. You can choose to live in fear of the unknown or embrace the unknown. You can take actionable steps that lead you to your vision of your future or you can live in fear and be paralyzed. You never get a guarantee on life. That’s life. But you can choose to believe that there is a new and better life out there if you only have the courage to leave the old one behind. There just might be a new you waiting in your future if you have the courage to leave the old one behind.