The fear of uncertainty
We're afraid of uncertainty because we don't have control over it. But we must eventually accept that uncertainty is part of life.
This November, I’m challenging myself to write every day. You can read them all under the “Shorts” category, where each post should be around 500–1k words. Think of them as “less polished” than my usual longer blog posts. This is Day 29.
I found out that the most likely reason I find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning is the fear of uncertainty. It's funny because once I get out of bed, I'm ready to take on the day. I've planned my days and weeks ahead of time, so I have an idea of what's happening in the day already. Yet, when I'm resting, the uncertainty lingers with me more. Why do we feel so anxious and uneasy in the face of uncertainty? People stick to routines because they have control over the outcomes. They know that if they go to their usual restaurant, they won't be disappointed by the food, for example. If we had to choose, almost everyone would choose certainty over uncertainty because it keeps us safe and comfortable. We all have different ways of dealing with uncertainty. Some actively avoid it, while others thrive in it. There are people who enjoy exploring the unknown and taking risks in their lives, whether at work or trying a new sport, but there's always a limit. For example, even though I'm starting to enjoy writing a bit more now, there are still certain genres I would still steer clear of.
We're afraid of the future because we're uncertain of the outcome and lack predictability. There is only so much information we can gather to ascertain the future after all. It also means the fear of losing control over something. Since we cannot predict or control the outcome, there's a potential risk of a disaster. As a result, this can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for some people, including myself. "Disaster" is an exaggeration, but it may appear to be the case for some. Even with rigorous planning, we may still become paralysed with fear. What if it doesn't turn out the way I hoped it would? What if all of my efforts are futile in the end? Would I have wasted all my time? There are a lot of what-ifs, but in the end, uncertainty is part of life. It's something we must eventually accept, even if it takes some time. Even with all of our preparation, the only way we can be certain is to move forward. We can only control the time we have right now. Start by taking small steps forward while allowing the future to unfold naturally by itself. That's how I'm trying to start my day, literally one step at a time. I wake up, get out of my bed, make my bed, wash up, shower, and eat breakfast. One step at a time. And that usually gets me going. The transition from waking up to getting out of my bed is the hardest for me, but I'm slowly working on it. You may not have realized it, but if you look back at your past wins and the challenges you faced, you'll realise that you've mostly been overthinking things and the challenges you faced weren't so bad after all. So, have faith. Acknowledge that you can't control everything, and that we can only make the best out of this moment of time.
If you're interested, I wrote a similar piece in the second issue of my Slice of Life newsletter. In that issue, I used Heike Monogatari as a reference. If you enjoy life lessons with pop culture references, check out my newsletter.
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