I’ve planned some long-term travel throughout SE Asia for the better part of a year, which will leave me without a job, or source of income (other than my savings) for the entire trip, and though I’m fairly confident that I’ve prepared and planned as much as possible, there is still a sting of uncertainty that I feel from time to time.
The fear of the unknown is commonplace, and something I believe we all share, but I also believe that same fear becomes more pronounced when there is potential for growth. Unfortunately, there is no way to “know” this truth without taking the plunge and stepping into uncertainty.
What typically happens is: we fail to start. Instead of stepping into uncertainty, we play it safe, and let our fears dictate our reality, which ultimately leads to the status quo. If you’re happy with that, you needn’t read any further.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with playing it safe, if that’s what makes you happy. But this site is for people seeking more, people looking for inspiration, and people who need a little extra push to step out of their comfort zone and pursue a more meaningful life.
So, how can we embrace uncertainty and look to our fears as a sign-post towards future growth?
Trade the word “Fear” for “Growth.”
By making this mental shift, fear becomes a positive indicator for growth. Often what we’re really feeling is the fear of failure, due to the unknown.
Whether it’s not feeling qualified, educated, practiced, or experienced enough, all roads head in the same direction. Recognize this as a sign post for growth, and notice how embracing your fear and stepping into uncertainty will offer a space for you to grow.
Doing the same, gets you more of the same.
If there’s something you’ve put off for a long time, such as, going back to school, changing jobs, or making “Wondering Vagabond” your new chosen profession, one thing is for certain: you will not get there by continuing to do what you’re already doing.
What you’re doing has led you to exactly where you are, and if you’re not where you want to be, then you need to step into uncertainty. Like the old saying goes, “without risk there is no reward.” You cannot do more of the same. At some point, you have to step of the edge and trust that everything will be OK.
The end of “What If?”
You owe it to yourself to answer the burning questions in the back of your mind. The last thing you want is to be left with a bunch of “what ifs” at the end of your life. This is one of the biggest regrets of those on their deathbeds, and one of my own personal fears.
But you can turn this fear into a positive and use it to create a sense of urgency. Instead of “What if?” Ask yourself : If not now, when? Our time is the only truly finite resource we have, and every day we wake, we have a little less. If you’re not going to take the leap now, then when? Answer the “what If” now, while you still have the chance.
Have a “Near-Life” experience.
This is a big one for me as well. Sometimes it’s important to ask yourself “Am I living life, or surviving it?” Often, it’s during moments of uncertainty when we feel most alive. Not having all the answers is OK.
If we had all the answers, and knew all the outcomes, there would be no thrills or excitement to life. It is actually the “not knowing” that creates space for new and memorable experiences. Stepping into the unknown also allows us to be fully present and live in the NOW.
I know it’s easier said than done, and we can’t just blindly take risks without any forethought — I would never recommend that, especially for those with responsibilities to family and loved ones. But, over-thinking, and procrastination should be avoided all costs.
More often than not, over-thinking, over-complicates, and will completely immobilize you with thoughts of undesired outcomes. Moreover, these thoughts are nothing more than projections of the Ego; a safety mechanism built to keep us comfortable and identified with our mind.
Neither fear, nor uncertainty, need paralyze us. When approached from a positive mindset, these feelings can actually lead towards everything you have ever wanted. By facing our fears, and stepping into uncertainty, we can find more fulfillment, more success, less regrets, and finally — more living.