What Do You Do with the Uncertain?
A lot of people are anxious these days.
Look, I get it. There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of uncertainty.
Uncertainty breeds apprehension … the fear of what might happen … which, in turn, breeds anxiety.
And, if you stay anxious all the time, it’ll make you miserable and sick, which, ironically, is what many people are anxious about … getting sick.
So … here’s my question for you.
Can you be okay with not knowing what the future holds?
Can you live with a high degree of uncertainty and maintain the kind of equanimity you need in order to roll with whatever comes your way?
Your ability to do so will play a large role in determining how effective and happy you are, and how much peace of mind you enjoy.
The ability to function in the face of uncertainty is, in some cases, nothing short of a lifesaving skill.
I have an acquaintance, who was a practicing surgeon, until he died on a basketball court during a friendly game with a bunch of his fellow doctors.
His heart just stopped, and he was clinically dead for a long time.
He survived … barely.
But this wasn’t a one-time thing. He has a chronic condition. His heart can stop at any moment. So, they implanted a combination pacemaker / defibrillator in his chest.
The thing works and keeps him alive, but every time his heart rhythm goes haywire enough to trigger the defibrillator, it feels as if he’s being kicked in the chest by a mule … and he never knows when it’s gonna happen!
Talk about living with uncertainty. But he does, with incredible grace.
The only clue he has is that it’s more likely to happen when he’s tense or upset or angry.
So, given that situation, what would you do?
Stay as relaxed, and calm as possible. That’s what he does.
He’s become a master of his emotional state. Because if he doesn’t manage upset in his life, BAM! … mule kick.
I think there’s a pretty profound lesson there for us.
We don’t get a high-voltage kick in the chest whenever we allow ourselves to get upset over things we can’t control, like worrying about or getting angry over world affairs.
So, we allow ourselves to get worked up, even though we know, in some vague way, that we’ll pay a price for it.
But the price usually isn’t nearly so immediate or obvious as the doctor’s, so we keep indulging.
Truth is, we might be better off if it were that immediate and obvious. It might make it easier to learn the lesson that uncontrolled stress and anxiety hurts us.
So, what CAN you and I do to become calmer, more serene?
When there’s uncertainty, you have to trust that everything will work out, even if things don’t look good and you don’t see how they’re ever gonna work out.
You have to have faith that you’re safe, that you’re divinely protected, that the world is a whole lot more perfect and less broken than it sometimes seems.
You have to breathe … and let go.
Want to know the truth?
While things seem crazy now, the pages of history are replete with crazy times … even crazier than this.
AND, life is, by its nature, uncertain.
As humans, we do our best to wring as much uncertainty out of our circumstances as we can.
After all, if there were no sense of certainty … that the sun would rise in the east … that our dog would always be happy to see us … that there were people we could count on to be there for us … we couldn’t function.
But the real secret … and the real skill … lies not so much in controlling our circumstances to ensure stability as it does in learning to live with uncertainty … to be okay with not knowing … to stay happy, healthy, calm, and peaceful even when it looks like things are goin’ to hell!
Just know, you don’t have to get caught up in the whirlwind.
Anxiety is optional. Serenity is golden.
What do you do each day to find it?
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