covid-19 uncertainty, instability, the unknown, “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.” - Voltaire, Psychologist and economist, Daniel Kahneman

7 Ways To Embrace This Uncertainty & Become Empowered

covid-19 uncertainty, instability, the unknown, “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.” - Voltaire, Psychologist and economist, Daniel Kahneman

7 Ways To Embrace This Uncertainty & Become Empowered

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal 7 ways to embrace and respond to uncertainty in an empowering way.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
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The 6 Traits of The New Hero
“Batman and Superman are not coming to save the world. It will be up to you.” The commencement address to MIT’s class of 2020 by Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired four-star admiral in the US Navy (serving for 37 years.) He believes that for you to become the hero we all need today, you must nurture and develop 6 qualities/traits. Watch the video 

Now, let’s talk about the 7 ways to embrace and respond to uncertainty in an empowering way.

Uncertainty is affecting every one of us during the pandemic; we simply cannot guarantee what the final outcome will be, the way things will change or even the way that we will overcome the pandemic. Everything feels out of control.

From the outset, the information, guidelines, restrictions and mandates regarding Covid-19 have all changed or evolved, and continue to do so, resulting in extreme uncertainty.

How do you respond?

You can either embrace the uncertainty with an empowering approach or be paralyzed and overpowered by fear and anxiety.

Think of your own life prior to the pandemic; what did you believe was guaranteed or certain? Your marriage, relationship, job, career, health, or investments? One client was convinced that the market and his business were going to continue doing so well, that he expanded and bought additional companies just two weeks before the lockdown; 4 months later, they are all still closed, and he is nearing bankruptcy.

“Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.” – Voltaire

What about you? What did you believe that you knew to be something that you relied upon to either not change or to evolve in a linear or predictable manner? How many times have you been proven wrong based on your expectations of certainty about things and outcomes?

As long as you continue to expect, demand or depend upon certainty, you will continue to be overwhelmed with negative emotions, such as anger, fear, anxiety, rumination, and depression. Note that fear leads to greater pessimism, a greater sense of hopelessness and lower feelings of self-control.

“Julia, fear is a very powerful weapon. Fear doesn’t give you the freedom to decide…Don’t act of out fear.” – The Sea Inside (motion picture, 2004)

1. Get comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty because there are no guarantees
Most people choose predictability, the known and even routine over the unknown because it gives a sense of safety, security, and stability. However, life is not experienced in a linear fashion. Think of the Butterfly Effect: one small thing that you never expected or predicted can occur that can result in massive changes to the system – to your life. Every decision and every perception of yours are a risk; the unknown can be an opportunity for great growth, new meaning, and new experiences. Practice acceptance of the truth that very little in life is certain.

“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.” – George Shinn.

2. Yesterday’s success doesn’t equal tomorrow’s success
It worked yesterday but people and things change, and they can change dramatically and rapidly. Take new action, take risks.

3. Be flexible and open to adjusting your strategy
Do you remember life prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001? Consider the way life has since changed along with the many new businesses that were created (security, anti-terrorism.) Now consider the new businesses and life changes that have resulted from Covid-19 such as remote work, masks and personal protection equipment, accelerated online businesses and purchasing.

4. Emotions win over logic
Beware of emotional reactions to risky situations; emotions always trump cognitive assessments when they clash. In other words, you might analyze the situation and logic tells you to do it this way, but your emotional response might be very different, and the emotion wins out.

5. Beware of irrational fear
When the fear is extreme, irrational or disproportionate to the problem at hand, you either make no decision or you make extreme decisions that are maladaptive or create a worse result. Step back and question your fears; upon what are they based?

6. Balance fast and slow thinking
Psychologist and economist, Daniel Kahneman identifies two ways we think when making decisions: I. Fast judgement based on emotion, gut, and instinct; II. Slow judgement is deliberate analysis of risks and benefits. Consider the ways that fear, anger, anxiety drive you to make quick decisions or none at all. Focus on using both approaches to make a decision and respond to uncertainty.

7. Trust yourself and your capabilities
The only real antidote to experiencing fear in the face of uncertainty is to take decisive action and remind yourself that no matter what, you will be okay, you will survive and thrive – if you choose to do so!

“Fear causes us to slam on the brakes instead of steering into the skid [which we know to be right response], immobilizes us when we have greatest need for strength, causes sexual dysfunction, insomnia, ulcers, and gives us a dry mouth and the jitters at the very moment when there is the greatest premium on clarity and eloquence. Most people, therefore, have at least occasionally experienced their own emotions as a destructive influence which they wish they could turn off.” – George Lowenstein, Exotic Preferences: Behavioral Economics and Human Motivation.

If you need help to overcome a challenge, trauma or the past, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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