Listen closely for this quote. It may be the most important thing you read today…
“The quality of your life is directly proportional to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably deal with.” -Tony Robbins
How is the quality of your life related to facing fear and uncertainty?
Every time you get out of bed in the morning, you risk. You could stub your toe, trip, spill the milk, who knows? I say this not to scare you; rather, to show you that you can worry A LOT if you so choose.
Most of us manage these fears. Thankfully, you no longer need your hand held crossing the street–you’ve learned to trust yourself and the universe enough to traverse cities.
Thus, the context of uncertainty changes.
As we grow and explore, we face more and more uncertainty. Even following an American dream (a path well traveled)–having children, applying for advance degrees, taking challenging tests, proposing marriage, starting businesses–is fraught with fear. We risk judgment, criticism, failure, loss, sadness, loneliness, challenging fear as much as comfort levels can handle, choosing to risk more or less based on how we can handle those fears.
The quality of your life increases exponentially based on this risk. If you only get out of bed and go to the kitchen, your anxiety level will stay level and your potential for growth will not rise. In contrast, if you get out of bed and go across the world–not only physically, but mentally, traversing your soul–the quality of your life rises.
If you get the value of uncertainty, how can it be not only tolerable, but inspiring?
First, trust yourself.
Look at how far you’ve come! Each of us have conquered hills in life.
There was a point you wouldn’t have been able to read this blog post! To read, you had to learn and fail and try again.
When I was little, I trusted myself tremendously. I walked with my head held high, my shoulders back, without doubting my words. Then high school, rejection, and failure happened. For years, the fear of repeating painful experiences paralyzed me to the point of silence. With travel, yoga, and a choice to trust myself, I learned to look fear in the face.
I have recovered my voice. Not only do I write verbose blog posts, I teach yoga classes to rooms of 60 people with my head held high, my shoulders back, without doubting my words. I trust myself because I have failed, looked fear in the face, and dared to try again.
Though I may not know you, I know you have overcome some kind of difficulty. If at the time you experienced worry, fear, or doubt, it doesn’t matter how big or little the feat, you did it. You overcame fear once. Trust that you can do it again and again.
The universe is going to unfold as it will. I go back to my original point: unless you choose never to leave your bed, there is no amount of planning, worry, and anxiety that will avoid the things you cannot control.
We think that by trying to control life, i.e. “playing it safe,” we somehow avoid pain. This simply isn’t true. If you don’t live your dreams, leave the house, try something new, are you going to LOVE life? Are you even living life or just existing?
I’m not saying to just “tolerate ambiguity,” which sounds like uncertainty is to be suffered and endured. I’m saying we need to “embrace the unknown”–invite and engage uncertainty as a source of opportunity!
Embracing uncertainty, we LIVE life rather than exist! And the extraordinary is possible…
“Snuffing out uncertainty leads to a sea of prematurely terminated mediocre output, when the ‘sweet mother of God’ breakthrough was just over the hump if only we’d had the will to embrace uncertainty, risk, and judgment and hang on a bit longer. If only we’d learn how to harness and ride rather than hunt and kill the butterflies that live in the gut of every person who strives to create something extraordinary from nothing.” -Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance