If we stop feeding anxiety and accept that we do not know what is going to happen, we will open ourselves to new possibilities. An indefinite landscape can also be stimulating and offer opportunities.
This global crisis caused by the coronavirus has once again placed us in a scenario of absolute uncertainty. We have urgent issues on the table that affect our health, our economy and, in short, our way of life.
Nothing we took for granted a year ago is now. Researchers dare not say when this crisis will end, much less politicians. We can say that we have entered the era of uncertainty.
CONVERT UNCERTAINTY TO POSITIVE UNCERTAINTY
In the midst of this panorama, the novelist and creator of emotional content Andrés Pascual has published the essay Uncertainty positive , which makes an interesting rereading of the current situation of uncertainty, chaos and change. At the beginning of the book he establishes this differentiation:
- Uncertainty: inability to predict your future.
- Positive uncertainty: ability to create your future.
Living in uncertainty, without more, leads us to be conditioned by fear, always placing power outside of oneself, granting it to external events. It implies waiting for the crisis to pass to rebuild our lives and be happy again, ignoring that any improvement depends on the sum of the actions of each person in the world.
Living in positive uncertainty is taking advantage of that same uncertainty, chaos and change as a fertile field in which we can define our life and provoke events ourselves. On this, Gandhi is credited with the phrase “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It”s a reflection that makes me think of a Ray Bradbury novel where one of the characters yells, “Hey, people are running like the storm has already come!” -I arrive! —Answers another— we are the storm!
HOW MUCH TOLERANCE DO YOU HAVE FOR UNCERTAINTY?
Positive uncertainty also gives us the freedom to choose with full attention the option that is most appropriate for us at the present moment. However, for this it is necessary to be able not to succumb to fear or anxiety.
What is your tolerance level for uncertainty? You can do the test below:
Do you suffer from a certain intolerance to uncertainty? In order not to fall into the lowest levels, which multiply the risk of reaching situations of panic, exhaustion or blockage, the Anxiety Canada association suggests solutions accredited by psychiatrists and psychologists that we propose at the end of this article.
HOW DO YOU REACT TO UNCERTAINTY?
According to researchers from this institution, this kind of intolerance is like suffering from an allergy, and those allergic to uncertainty act in different ways. Let”s see how we can react when this intolerance of uncertainty occurs.
Over-inform: get hooked on the news
Trying to completely eliminate uncertainty is not only impossible, but it also leads to obsessive behaviors. In a global crisis like the current one, for example, it is typical to try to increase our level of certainty through over information.
Just as hypochondriacs compulsively search the Internet for pages about their symptoms, which only fuels their fixation, hooking ourselves on the news to know when there will be vaccines or when the economy will straighten only serves to increase anxiety levels.
In order not to fall into “intoxication”, a neologism used to define the excess of information that is toxic, an effective measure is to choose and ration the food that we give to our mind. Ask ourselves the question: “Does this kind of news bring me peace or increase my unease?” In the second case, we must substitute that kind of nutrition for another that promotes the state of mind that we want to achieve.
Procrastinate: wait for circumstances to change
Trying to avoid situations that involve uncertainty, in addition to being impossible, since everything is and will always be uncertain, often leads to procrastination. This would be the case of those who give up embarking on new projects because everything is too “insecure”, thus losing opportunities and being frozen waiting for circumstances to change.
Rejecting everything that we cannot control can also lead to phobia. Carl Gustav Jung used to say that “What you accept transforms you; what you deny submits you.” Embrace the uncertainty and you can enjoy the path of life with all its twists and turns.
THE 7 STEPS OF POSITIVE UNCERTAINTY
In his book, Andrés Pascual proposes the following steps to convert the uncertainty that blocks us and anguish into a creative and proactive uncertainty.
1. Empty yourself of bad habits
When you eliminate the patterns of behavior that feed intolerance to uncertainty — for example, taking refuge in complaints or closing your eyes to reality — you leave room for the small qualitative changes that will forge your new identity. As James Clear points out in his best-seller Atomic Habits, focus on who you want to be and you will change your destiny.
2. Destroy your certainties
Thanks to the fact that in the world there is not a single certainty that forces us to follow predetermined lanes, we are free to start our own path and commit ourselves to those purposes that give it meaning.
Andrés Pascual affirms that “The only thing we can know for sure is that we cannot know anything for sure.” This is actually good news, as it provides us with an immense field to create our lives.
3. Leave your past behind
Since everything is constantly changing, we can only adapt to the circumstances and opportunities of the present moment, there is no need to be afraid of losing something along the way.
To release this fear, the yogi Sadhguru offers us this reflection: “Realize that you are not going to live forever. You were born with nothing, so it is absurd to chain yourself to the things that you have been achieving. “
4. Create your future now
As Alan Watts explains, it is a mistake to think that we can only be happy or prosperous as long as we have the future in sight.
If you are so busy planning how you will eat next week that you cannot enjoy what you are eating now, you will find yourself in the same situation when next week”s food arrives. There is no use living in the fantasy of expectation, if you forget the gift of the present.
5. Stay calm
There is a story about a king who commissioned a mural for his bedroom depicting perfect peace. When he saw it finished, he was stunned. He was expecting something like an orange sunset over a wheat field swaying in the breeze, but what was in front of him was an almost black scene of a stormy cliff. The waves hit the cutting stone, the rain fell in all directions, blown away by the hurricane wind.
When the king reproached the painter for his work, he pointed out an almost imperceptible detail. From a crack in the stone emerged a bush twig, in which there was a nest on which a little bird just hatched from the egg rested. “Perfect peace is not found in an idyllic sunset, “the painter told him, “but in a calm heart in the middle of the storm.”
6. Trust your star
To create good luck we have to use intuition, without forgetting that chance and unpredictable events also play their cards, which we will put on our side if we bet on our inner wisdom.
7. Enjoy the road
Maintaining an attitude of enthusiasm and acceptance is the secret to persevere without giving up or looking for shortcuts that leads to precipitation. Surrender yourself body and soul, even when uncertainty prevents you from seeing the end of the road.
WHY DOES THE HUMAN BEING ACT LIKE THIS WHEN FACED WITH INSECURITY?
In 1951, the orientalist Alan Watts published a now classic book: The Wisdom of Insecurity, and the subtitle was no less revealing: A Message for an Age of Anxiety. The world had entered the beginning of the Cold War, and the catastrophe that could cause a confrontation between the two blocs into which it had been divided fueled a permanent state of panic.
Yet this UK-born thinker carried the desire for security to the very heart of the human being. In our quest for control, we aspire to have power over events or, at the very least, to make predictions. But would that give us any kind of happiness?
According to Alan Watts, “We have to discover that there is no security, that looking for it is painful and that when we imagine we have found it, we do not like it. The main thing is to understand that there is no security.”
If we accept that fulfillment and fulfillment take place in the present, we have to assume that its essence is ephemeral and that, therefore, that is precisely what gives it its value and beauty.
The author of The Wisdom of Insecurity resorts to this lucid simile: “Music is delightful because of its rhythm and flow, but as soon as we stop the flow and prolong a note or chord beyond its time, the rhythm is destroyed. Since life, similarly, is a flowing process, change and death are its necessary parts. To strive for its exclusion is to strive against life. “
Against this happy flow, the human being has two great enemies: his mental projections to the past and those of the future.
- In the past lives loss, sadness, comparison. The poet Jorge Manrique used to say that “any time in the past was better”, which will be true if we are not able to live with the five senses now.
- In the future they live uncertainty, fear, and anxiety. The fear of what is going to happen robs us of the pleasure of enjoying what is happening. On this, Alan Watts concludes: “If my awareness of the future and the past makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder if I am really living in the real world.”
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