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How to Bring Certainty to an Uncertain Situation

Do you do everything in your power to avoid uncertainty in your life?  Most of us do.

Let me tell you a secret: You gotta give it up!

You will never be able to fortify your life against uncertainty.

The only thing you can be certain of is that life is uncertain
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This may seem like a strange assertion in a post about how to bring certainty to the uncertainty, so let me explain.

You Crave (Un)certainty

That’s right. You crave uncertainty.

You also crave certainty.

If life were completely certain, you would be bored.

If life were completely uncertain, you would be constantly traumatized and probably go into shock.

It is an extreme example, but think about those who suffered in the Nazi camps. Their lives were completely uncertain and subject to the whims of someone completely outside their control.

Their minds were traumatized, and the mind moved into a withdrawn “numbness” as a method of self-preservation.

Human beings crave the certainty of structure and the uncertainty of variety, but a balance of these two needs is essential to a fulfilled life.

Certainty Gives You Power…or Does It?

You may think that certainty gives you power…but does it really?

If you work for a large Fortune 500 company, you may feel empowered because, “it’s a big company with good benefits, and the job I do is as stable as it can be.”

If you work for yourself, you may feel powerful because “no matter what happens, I am the master of my own ship.”

Consciously, we all acknowledge that nothing is 100% stable. We all acknowledge that there are some uncertainties that we just can’t get around in life.

Those who live well are those who deal well with uncertainty.
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Power Lies In the Uncertainty/Certainty Balance

The truth is that power lies in the balance of the two.

Fortune favors the man/woman who can stomach uncertainty and yet, at will, can bring certainty to the uncertainty of life.

Your power lies in your ability to bring certainty to the uncertain experiences of your life.

Years ago, I witnessed this skill in terrifying detail.  It was the week before my brother’s wedding.

He arrived in town late and came to my house (where he was staying till the wedding). I woke up when I heard him and his buddy come in.

He slumped down on my couch in the semi-darkness of my livingroom.  Shadows cast by the light of the streetlamps outside danced across his face.

“I love you man,” he said.

Thinking he was mimicking a popular TV Commercial, I wasn’t in the mood for the joke at 2 a.m.

“No, seriously, Dude,” he said, “I just almost got killed!”

“What do you mean?” I questioned.  “What happened?”

He and his buddy had stopped to help a guy who was pushing his car toward a gas station near my house.

The bars were just starting to close for the night, and a drunk woman driving an SUV plowed into them as the three of them pushed the car.

She hit the car owner and cut him off at the knees. He flipped up over her truck and landed on the street behind her vehicle.  My brother and his buddy were knocked down by the force of the collision.

“It all happened so fast, but it seemed like slow motion,” he said.  “I saw Timmy (his buddy) dazed and wandering around in the road, so I jumped up and pulled him to the curb.  That’s when I heard the other guy groaning.”

“Please…help me.”

“It was awful. He was laying in a pool of blood coming from his head,” my brother said. “He was so scared.  I could see it in his eyes.”

The paramedics soon arrived and my brother and Timmy continued on to my house.

What had allowed my brother to respond so clearly in a traumatic moment of uncertainty?

He was able to bring certainty to the moment of surprise and trauma.

The Secret Sauce

The key is being able to create certainty from uncertainty. It not only empowers you, but empowers those around you as well.

People are drawn to those who can successfully exercise this skill.

How can you create certainty in your life?

Here are some tips.

1. Recognize that Life is Uncertain
Remember that “the only thing you can be certain of is that life is uncertain.” (Tweet it)

If you quit trying to fight this fact, you free your mental acuity and focus to be able to bring clarity to a moment of uncertainty.

2. Step Into the Uncertainty
Once you recognize that life is uncertain, step into it.  This act will set you apart because nearly everyone else will be running from the uncertainty.

Think of the first responders on 9/11. They rushed toward the extreme uncertainty.

It takes courage and guts.  Be courageous. Step into it.

3. Take the Next Visible Step
This is one of the most powerful insights that I share in my book, and it is one that I strive to live by each day.

Take the next visible step.

Taking the next step you can see creates momentum. Suddenly, the fear around you melts away because you are moving forward into the uncertainty.

You’ll also find that as you take a step, the next one (and the next) will always be revealed.

The Results of Certainty

The bi-products of bringing certainty to uncertainty are many.  Most noticeable is confidence.  Deep “knowing” confidence that you can face whatever it brings to you.

All of us want this deep sense of peace and tranquility, but most of us won’t walk into the uncertainty to get there.

The truth is it always lay within you, but facing your fears reveals the truth to yourself.

When you know for sure, the ‘how’ doesn’t matter.
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Think back on your life and tell me about the times you’ve knowingly (or unknowingly) brought certainty to the tumultuous moments of your life.

Did you experience that confidence and courage that I described? What did you experience?  Tell me about it in the comments below!

NOTE:  If you haven’t listened to the podcast discussing this topic, listen here.

 Photo Credit: quinn.anya

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Great insights shared here, bud. I listened to the podcast the other day, and you shared a lot of great information there, as well. 

    For me, it’s all about having balance in my life, and knowing that the uncertainties have their place in my life – just as much as the certainties does. That has been the key to gaining that balance in my life. I’ve been really dealing with my fears of the uncertain here lately. In the past, I would run for the hills if I was unsure of the outcome, and it makes me think now – how many opportunities did I really run away from because of it. 

    Today, I’m better about facing them. Whenever fear grips me – I step back, analyze the fear to see what about the situation is presenting me with the fear, and make a more intelligent decision concerning the choices I will make about the situation in question. 

    When I first released my eBook, it seemed that many took a step back away from me. My thoughts went haywire on me. I started thinking all kinds of things that wouldn’t allow me to move forward. It was certainly a time of uncertainty for me. However, I took a step back, analyzed the situation, and released all those feelings I had about it. As soon as I did that, I was able to free myself up of the emotional roller coaster that I had put myself through. I immediately saw a change occur with the eBook as a result of letting it go, as well. 

    So yes, I totally agree with you on this – the secret sauce is definitely where we find clarity in bringing certainty to an uncertain situations. Great information you’ve shared here, Steve. Thank you. 

    • Thanks for sharing this post as well as your experiences, Deeone. I had a similar mental fight when I released my book too, so I can really relate.

      I’m so glad that you have been able to recognize the uncertainties you face and have made the decision to let them go when they come to you.

      I have already sensed the increase in personal power that you are creating for yourself, and it’s nice to see that happen through the life of a friend.

  • Steve,

    I like your perspective of uncertainty does for us, and I think you right in that it does create a level of excitement and engagement that certainty doesn’t bring. Although I hope I would not have to experience an accident like the one in your post, there is a clarity of action that springs from uncertainty. It intensifies our focus and direction. 

    Interesting thought to ponder some more…

    Thanks!

    Jon

    • Thanks, Jon.

      Yeah, the accident was just a really extreme, vivid example of the point I was trying to make. But it shows how powerful the ability to bring certainty to an uncertain situation is.

      BTW, my brother has since created a career in the military where he goes into very dangerous combat situations and performs at a high level. He definitely has learned this skill and used it to become very good at his work.

  • Hi Steve,

    This was a very well written post and extremely thought provoking. Thank you.

    One of the best things I’ve done is, to learn how embrace uncertainty rather than resist it like I used to many years ago. What I’ve found is, that by embracing uncertainty, I then mentally create a ‘certain’ framework around the uncertainty, which then enables me to work with the changes occuring without emotional stress. Because I’m expecting changes to happen, there are no wild surprises when they do.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, Hiten!

      I’m so glad that you’ve been able to apply this principle and see results in your life.

      You’re absolutely right…by embracing the reality of uncertainty, it allows you to create a “framework” (great analogy) in order to work from.

      That’s the biggest key…if you can expect the uncertainties, then you have a head start in dealing with them!

      Great insight.