Sharing, musing, reflecting...

The Greatest Show on Earth – Part Two

Insecurity has many flavours and disguises.
One of the most common ones is Uncertainty.

Many of us get freaked out when we don’t know what’s going to happen or how things are going to turn out.

So what is it about uncertainty or the unknown that freaks people out?

Well the answer is simple. The only thing that freaks us out is how we are thinking about uncertainty.

There is nothing inherently scary about not knowing. For example, if you watch a ‘murder mystery’ movie, you’d be annoyed if someone told you who the culprit was within the first 5 minutes. It would spoil the experience. Even though there may be a part of you that wants to know, it’s the thrill of not knowing that makes it such a great experience!

In many situations in life, we relish not knowing. We enjoy the process of imagining what might have happened or what will happen. Anticipation is a wonderful thing. For example, you book a holiday to somewhere you’ve never been before and you begin to imagine all the wonderful things you might see and the experiences you might have.

Whilst giving us wonderful experiences, this gift of imagination is also what trips us up and de-rails us.

When people are in a new situation where they don’t know what’s ahead of them, they can either imagine exciting possibilies, scary scenarios or just remain curious and hang out in the unknown.

So you see, it’s not uncertainty per se that’s the problem. The problem is that we misunderstand where our freaked out feelings are coming from. We think it’s the situation (the lack of information, the absence of answers etc) when actually it’s coming entirely from our own thinking.

This crucial fact has many implications.
For example, consider all those different scenarios at work, where people ‘don’t know’ what’s going to happen or where there is some uncertainty. How often are these situations frustrating or stressful for people? And in comparison, how often are these situations energising, inspiring and motivating?

Uncertainty is an experience of thought.
And the more you see how it really works, the more you can appreciate the unknown, just like you do when you watch a great movie.

Chantal Burns ScreenshotChantal Burns

Executive Coach, Speaker and Bestselling Author of

'INSTANT MOTIVATION: The Surprising Truth Behind What Really Drives Top Performance'

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