The Fear of Uncertainty – And How To Handle It

dicecube-614005_960_720Being an entrepreneur is exciting. 

But the fear of uncertainty can be unnerving. 

Not knowing how things will turn out.

Or what exactly the future will hold.

The Fear of Uncertainty – And How To Handle It

I’ve realized there’s one thing most of all which influences why we do or don’t do the things we should in life.

The fear of uncertainty.

The Fact is Life is Uncertain

Life by it’s very nature is uncertain.

Yet most people have a fear of the unknown. They fear uncertainty. They dislike not knowing what the future holds.

Maybe this stems from a basic primeval fear or anxiety we all have within ourselves. Right back in Stone Age times, people were faced with continual uncertainty. Will I be able to hunt and capture a wild animal tomorrow so that I can eat next day?

Much of our civilization and our society, economy, and government are designed to try and minimize uncertainty or at least lessen its impact.

This fear has led us to create things such as insurance. Unemployment insurance, health insurance, fire insurance. Social welfare systems, employment and housing legislation and so on.

It’s also the reason many people opt for a life of safe plodding, staying in the same job for years and years. Or living in the same place for much or all of their lives, rather than moving or changing jobs or starting a business.

The interesting thing is many people prefer to accept a lifestyle of mediocre certainty with a low return, rather than choosing a much more risky, but high return lifestyle of uncertainty. This is what keeps many people in their boring nine to five jobs.

Fact is though, the future is always uncertain. There are often any number of possible outcomes for a changing situation. How things finally turn out is unknown to us until they actually happen.

Even if you have a so-called “secure” job, we know practically no job or career is ever truly secure anywhere in the world.

It’s not only man-made events and outcomes, but natural outcomes as well – things such as health, the weather, natural catastrophes. Even the earth itself is unstable and uncertain. The continental plates are continually shifting and so we get earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis that can and do happen at any time.

What Can We Do About Uncertainty?

So what can we do about uncertainty in our lives?

We can try and live our lives by trying to minimize the uncertainty.

More insurance, more security. less mobility. That is one approach. It may be what you prefer. But you can still never eliminate the uncertainty completely.

We don’t even know with certainty what will happen tomorrow, let alone next year. Not in our own lives, nor even in the case of a business, the economy, the weather, our country or the world as a whole.

And what if you want more from life than just trying to control and minimize all the uncertainty you encounter in your life? What if you want a more exciting and challenging life than that?

We can always try to take action to influence and steer events and outcomes in the direction we prefer. But even then there is still no certainty that our efforts will be successful.

So how should you deal with the Fear of Uncertainty if you don’t want to live a live being restricted by it?

I suggest something like the following approach.

My Seven Top Tips for Dealing with the Fear of Uncertainty

1. Accept that you just can’t be certain about uncertain things. The future is always unknown to us. So try to accept this and no longer fear it.

2. Be prepared and willing to take calculated risks. Without risk there is never any benefit or profit to be made.

3. Don’t regard a “crisis” as a crisis.  We often call crisis when things don’t go the way they have gone before, or if they turn out different to how we expected.

It’s a mistake we make continually. You see this in the news practically every day: “economic crisis”, “financial crisis”, “government crisis”, the “crisis” in this industry, or in that sector…

Yet “crisis” is often little more than things changing to how they were before – and requiring that we now re-adapt and change in order to respond to them.

And besides, as the old Chinese saying goes, crisis also means opportunity.

4. Make plans – but don’t be rigid. Don’t expect or demand them to be implemented 100 percent as you wanted them to be. Have a Plan B.  And maybe a Plan C.  But be flexible, don’t force your plan if it won’t go. Be like water. Go with the flow.

Starting a business, launching a new project, changing career, going on an open-end travel expedition, migrating, changing job… all these things involve change and the need to accept uncertainty.

5. Another way to deal with fear is to do the thing that you actually fear. If you fear jumping out of a plane (with a parachute that is), then do just that. Actually I’m not sure I could do just that. But you get my drift.

In other words, don’t over-analyze things. Nike it… Just do it.

6. Accept that there are always multiple potential outcomes for everything. We don’t know for sure which outcome will be the result in the future.

And you can’t always get the particular one outcome that you specifically wanted. So you may have to settle for another result.

7. Finally, remember that, whatever happens, you are always part of a communality, You are a member of a common universe of everything that happens between heaven and earth.

You are subject to the same universal rules and laws as all other beings, everyone and everything else. The universe is unlimited, it has unlimited resources and it provides for everyone within it.

And don’t forget that the things we worry over are very tiny in relation to that universe.

So don’t be fearful of uncertainty. Chances are all will turn out fine.

Image attribution: CC creative commons license, free for commercial use. No attributuion required.


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9 Responses to The Fear of Uncertainty – And How To Handle It

  1. Redraven March 12, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Very Very Cool Blog…wish I had found it ages ago.  There is a wealth of great info in here.

  2. kevinrwells March 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Thanks Redraven – and glad you like it!

  3. Suzana Daniels February 13, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    Fabulous information on uncertainties in life. Even I am planning to start a blog someday but this article of yours is so inspirational that it has lessened to a great extent my worries of leaving a 9 to 5 job for my living and being on my own. Hope to read more such cool stuff in your blog that can be of great help for many others like me.


    • kevin February 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Thanks Suzana for the compliments.

      There’s something else that can also help overcome uncertainty that I didn’t mention.

      It’s this: once you start something new – and provided you commit yourself to it through your intentions and your actions, you find the universe “conspires” to assist you in achieving it

      It’s partly about a consciousness change in your mind and outlook. You now become aware of the opportunities that are out there which you didn’t notice before. Once you do that, other people and events help you. And then there’s no looking back.

      Good luck with your future plans!

  4. Mackoo July 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Thank you for the inspirational post. I love how you combine a philosophical approach with real-life wisdom and knowledge. I am also working towards ‘breaking out’ from my 9-5 job and fulfilling my dreams and living a life of true independence.

    • Kevin July 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks Mackoo, that’s praise indeed!

  5. Stacey January 6, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    Thank you so much for this. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Fear is pointless!

    • kevin January 6, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

      Thanks Stacey, glad it’s helped.


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