When you follow what’s going on a political, technological, and ecological level you realize just how uncertain our future is. Will we all lose our jobs and be replaced by AI? How many livelihoods will climate change destroy? Is Trump going to be impeached and will the stock market crash again?
What affects us much more day-to-day however is the uncertainty about our own lives: our work, relationships, health, finances, and perceived future. All of these can feel very fragile at times.
Here are a couple of strategies that have helped me deal with (the fear of) uncertainty.
1. Accept it
Accept that you don’t have control over what’s happening externally and focus on all the things that you can control instead: your mindset, your actions, and your commitment. Thinking about things that you have no control over will only make you feel stuck and disempowered.
2. Take a step back
Sometimes we get hung up on things that are not even important in the grand scheme of things. When you get agitated about a specific change, ask yourself if this is actually worth your energy. Are you focusing on things that bring you closer to your mid- and long-term goals? Or are you getting hung up on unimportant stuff?
3. Do a quick negative visualization exercise & feel instant relief
Ask yourself “What is the worst possible thing that can happen?” Then imagine that this worst-case scenario would become reality and write down five things you would do to mitigate the situation. Having a clear “emergency plan” is going to give you peace of mind. And typically you will realize that you have the resources needed to deal with whatever life throws at you.
4. Surround yourself with positive people
In times of uncertainty, there are rumors and especially if you are part of a re-organization right now, you can be easily pulled into negativity. When there is no available information people make up things to fill in the gaps. Typically this is not bringing you any closer to your goals and that it only corrupts your mind. Instead, seek out people who see opportunities and want to have a positive impact.
5. Ride the wave
It is possible to become more comfortable with uncertainty. Whenever the cards are being shuffled there are new opportunities opening up. Embrace the fact that you don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week. And just catch each wave as it comes.
6. Use the fear of the unknown as fuel
Fear brings about strong emotions, which can be turned into powerful energy. One thing I have learned recently is that fear is actually showing you exactly what you most want. Whatever you are most afraid of is where the stakes are the highest. And the reason the stakes are so high is that this area of your life is so important to you. If you see fear as an energy you can actually use it as fuel to do things that are most aligned with your heart’s desires.
7. Focus on the process and not the outcome
Probably one of the most powerful mindset hacks out there is this: rather than worrying about your future success, focus on this small step, and then that next step. Win one game at a time. Just do your best in each individual game and you will see that the season’s results will be great. Be fully in the moment. Not only will this help you deal with uncertainty, but it will also supercharge your focus. If you are in the middle of the job search process, for example, focus on one application and one networking event at a time and let go of the outcome.
I leave you with a quote:
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble