Uncertainty: A unique kind of torture

careers mental health Aug 25, 2020

"It's a cruel and random world, but the chaos is all so beautiful" - Hiroma Arakawa

With September fast approaching, many of us are eager to get back to some kind of normality with the children back at school and the chance of some uninterrupted work hours, or even a return to the office.

But what happens if the world that you’re returning to in September no longer exists? Perhaps the prolonged time away from your usual work hours has mounted pressure for your productivity to return in full force when you do. Perhaps you’ll be staying at home for the foreseeable future, or maybe you currently don’t have a job to go to at all.

When the world is quickly changing around you, it’s natural to want to exert some control over anything. To have something to latch onto in an attempt to slow the pace of change, or stop it altogether. We feel that with control comes predictability, and with predictability comes less stress. 

Well, that’s not always true.

We live in a society where we’re taught to get control of everything. We find stable jobs and relationships, we micromanage, helicopter parent and stick to budgets. This is all part of the way we design for predictability in our lives, but life is anything but predictable and there’s always the possibility of an accident or illness, of being let down by someone you trust or even a global pandemic. Learning how to relinquish control and embrace uncertainty is important for riding through the difficult times and coming out the other side, but, of course - it is easier said than done.

Here are some different ways to help deal with change and uncertainty.

Let go of any hope that you can create certainty in your life.

The first step in learning to ride the wave is to accept that the waves are there. You’ll never have an unbreakable plan. You’ll never have full and total control, and that’s life. Accepting that fact allows you to open up to other possibilities and find the resilience you need to rethink when things don’t go your way.

A powerful tool for this is ‘negative visualisation’. Instead of telling yourself that things will work out fine, take a pause and then calmly imagine the best steps to take if things went wrong. There’s always a solution for even the worst case scenario, and knowing this will make it feel much more achievable.

Stay open minded

Keeping an open mind is vital to creativity, as the mind needs space to be imaginative and inspired to create. One of the biggest issues with not returning to office life is the loss of ‘loose connections’ - the people outside of your normal team - as it has been found that interactions with these people are often where the best ideas come from. 

A creative mind is a calm one, so taking a few minutes each day to meditate or practise breathing exercises will help to quiet the mind chatter that can be very distracting. 

Manage your expectations

When something is important to us, we build it up; whether it’s an upcoming birthday, an important relationship or a promotion, we create a picture in our minds of how it’s going to be. The disappointment we feel when things don’t pan out can be crushing, but when you aren’t focused on just one outcome, you’re open the the possibility of many outcomes, each of which will have their own pros and cons. When thinking of the future, instead of saying “I hope....” try “What if….” which a great way to open yourself up to the unknown.

Switch your focus from outcomes to habits

We know that you can’t control outcomes, but you can control your habits which lead you in the direction you want to go. You can’t guarantee your financial security, but you can put a little away each month. You can’t ensure you’ll be promoted, but you can do great work, and make sure those higher up know about it. Setting yourself up with habits to support your success help you feel like you have control, but keep you open to the possibilities around you. 

If your routines could do with some work, try out our free Rise and Shine morning routine challenge to kick off your day performing well.



Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras sed sapien quam. Sed dapibus est id enim facilisis, at posuere turpis adipiscing. Quisque sit amet dui dui.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.