The Illusion of Certainty
“Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay.”~ R. I. Fitzhenry
Have you ever not followed through on something you really wanted to do because the risks seemed too great? I have. I stayed in an abusive marriage even though the kids and I were miserable because it felt safer than taking the leap to be on my own. In doing so I traded my inner peace and happiness for financial security. I also remained in a job that I was not passionate about for a lot longer than I should have because I thought it provided more stability than taking a risk and launching my own coaching practise.
Why do we resist change?
Because of fear we stay where we are. Fear is one of our strongest emotions. Our brain likes the way things are right now, so it tells us that change is dangerous and being stuck is safe, but its not. Being stuck is about ignoring your dreams and robbing yourself of the right to happiness and fulfillment.
The world inserts all sorts of uncertainties into our life and our mind supplements them by creating its own doubts. So we believe that what we’ve got and where we are is better than the risk and fear that comes with change.
Our brain also creates fearful stories of what life would be like if we were to venture out of our comfort zone. It’s another tactic it uses to keep us right where we are. When I was thinking about escaping my marriage I would lay awake at night playing out the worse case scenarios. The only option I saw if I left was where the kids and I would be without a home, living in the truck, without money, or food. And because I chose to believe these stories I stayed where I was- miserable and dying from the inside out.
But nothing in life is certain. I held the belief that if I didn’t change neither would my life. This belief was shattered not once, but twice. First, when without warning my spouse abandoned the marriage. Then a couple of years later when the company I worked for made a sudden decision to cease operations and I found myself out of a job. Both of these events which I was certain would never happen, did. Although it is our nature to assume the world is stable and unchanging, it’s completely wrong.
Our brain also overestimates how we will react when things do go wrong. How many times have we told a lover that “we would just die” if they were to leave us, only to survive and actually cope quite well when they did, even getting stronger when the relationship came to an end. This forecasting of our inability to cope also causes us not take action and stay where we are.
Our internal critic will begin to make a lot of noise when we are presented with an opportunity where we can grow. It’s nothing more than the voice of fear. In a world filled with uncertainty we hunger for things that come with a guarantee. But in life there are no guarantees. That’s all an illusion to just keep us stuck where we are.
So if there is something you want to take action on- a new job, leaving an unhappy relationship, returning to school, don’t let that negative voice in your mind take over and stop you.
You must ignore the inner chatter, push past it, and take action regardless of the thoughts and stories your brain is manufacturing.
The only thing truly certain in life, is you- your powerful authentic self. Being powerful means being willing to be uncomfortable. You must be willing to fall. But don’t worry you won’t fall as far or as hard as your brain is telling you will.
Remember being uncomfortable is good. It only feels wrong because its a new sensation. We are creatures of habit and we have gotten overly comfortable in our life. But can you imagine a world in which nothing changes? It would be absolutely boring and we would all be miserable.
So today embrace uncertainty. Start feeling uncomfortable. Make a list of all the things you have avoided, postponed and haven’t dealt with. Then begin tackling all those items – just one small task each day. Start today and I guarantee your life will change!