Productivity and GTD

8 Tips to Deal with Uncertainty

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“Uncertainty is where things happen. It is where the opportunities — for success, for happiness, for really living — are waiting.” ~ Martha Nussbaum
Uncertainty

How all the things have changed in the last 20 years! We live in a society in which over 500 million daily tweets are published, more than 300 million uploaded photos to Facebook every day and over 300 hours of video to YouTube every minute. There is a lot of new information, and it comes to us very quickly.

The technology and the Internet are making the world evolve at a dizzying rate. Any smartphone, in addition to talking on the phone, lets you watch videos, listen to your favorite music, trade in the stock market and manage a large part of your work. A fitness bracelet can control your daily activity and your performance to help you keep fit. Drones, initially unmanned combat vehicles, are reaching countless applications in the civil and professional market. And you’ll see, it will be no time at all until you have a robot in your home.

The time to live quietly, without changes and having everything under control at all times, is over. That doesn’t mean you can’t live peacefully, but in order to accomplish it, now you have to learn to accept and embrace all the uncertainty that surrounds you.

The situations in which you do not have all the information or information is imperfect generate stress, because there is always the possibility they lead to an undesired result. But, since this kind of uncertain situations are now the standard (and that is the only thing that will not change), you should improve your ability to adapt to their demands. These are my tips for dealing with uncertainty:

  1. Clarify your goals and objectives. Take the time to define what is really important to you and what is optional. Clarity provides direction and also allows you to be calm about things you’re not doing.
  2. Create a map. What do you do when you go to a place you don’t know so you won’t get lost? You take a map with you. A personal organization system like GTD offers the same functions as a map: lets you know where you are, where are you heading, how you can go wherever you want to go, which different possibilities there are to reach your destination, and how to make a detour if something unexpected arises on your path. You need a system that allows you to maneuver when you lose perspective.
  3. Go towards uncertainty. The best way to overcome fear of the unknown is to act. Take the first step and you’ll see that the limits of the unknown become narrower.
  4. Focus on what you can control in the short term. There are many things you can do, so do not obsess over what might happen in the future or you will be foolishly paralyzed.
  5. Be open to surprises. They occur anyway, so better be prepared for anything. Be positive, surprises will allow you to learn and experience things that you have not even dreamed of.
  6. Accept the risks. When there is uncertainty, there are risks. You must learn to minimize them and accept those that you cannot eliminate.
  7. Be curious. Observe, read, question, learn, do not take anything for granted.
  8. Be brave. As Mark Twain said, the secret of getting ahead is getting started.

3 comments

501e11ba3e9c900ac50658ed168bb92a
Commented over 3 years ago Isaac Mann

Very good article. This is something I allow to effect me negatively much more than I should. One thing I have always tried to follow that I think ties in to this article directly is the serendipity prayer. I've always at least tried to follow that.

501e11ba3e9c900ac50658ed168bb92a Isaac Mann

Very good article. This is something I allow to effect me negatively much more than I should. One thing I have always tried to follow that I think ties in to this article directly is the serendipity prayer. I've always at least tried to follow that.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented over 3 years ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Isaac. I think uncertainty affects negatively everyone. We are creatures of habit and feel good in the status quo.

Yes, I think serendipity fits with the "be open to surprises" and "be curious" tips ;)

Thanks for sharing!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Isaac. I think uncertainty affects negatively everyone. We are creatures of habit and feel good in the status quo.

Yes, I think serendipity fits with the "be open to surprises" and "be curious" tips ;)

Thanks for sharing!

501e11ba3e9c900ac50658ed168bb92a
Commented over 3 years ago Isaac Mann

The tip that made me think of the serendipity prayer was "focusing on what you can control." This phrase that you used for that tip is essentially what the serendipity prayer is about.

It is the those things I am comfortable with that I refuse to let go of even though I very much need too.

501e11ba3e9c900ac50658ed168bb92a Isaac Mann

The tip that made me think of the serendipity prayer was "focusing on what you can control." This phrase that you used for that tip is essentially what the serendipity prayer is about.

It is the those things I am comfortable with that I refuse to let go of even though I very much need too.

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