The Weekly Resolve Email 71

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3 Clever Ways You Can Escape the Pain of Uncertainty

Edition 71 — read on     |  May 24th, 2022

Happy thinking Tuesday!

Here is one quote, one question, and big idea to challenge the way you make decisions and improve your life.

A quote…

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn't uncertainty. It's openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose upsides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”― Tony Schwartz

A question…

What do I know to be true?

When you fear uncertainty, grounding yourself in the facts can help you overcome doubt.

A big idea…

There is a paradox to uncertainty.

It’s this view that everything uncertain offers you an opportunity to be curious and question what you don’t know. Curiosity appears when we face the unknown. Our willingness to question what we don’t know propels us forward.

Uncertainty is paradox you should embrace, not fear.


The Clever Way You Can Escape the Pain of Uncertainty

We’ve got uncertainty all wrong.

Our fear of what we don’t know should be a gateway to curiosity.

What often happens is that we ignore uncertainty. We make decisions without any consideration of what we don’t know. And then, when it gives us an outcome we don’t want we put it all down to ‘bad luck’.

It’s a cheap excuse.

Then there are those that can’t escape uncertainty.

They don’t try and challenge what they don’t know. Instead, they plunge into a bath of anxiety. Fretting on every scenario as they ponder the unknown.

Uncertainty can be a mentally consuming place to live, but it doesn’t have to be.

The Curious Mind

Benjamin Franklin once said: “Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.”

The darkness is our uncertainty. Either through ignorance or fixation, we end up lamenting the darkness of uncertainty. To fight the uncertainty—to light the candle, we have to be curious.

Curiosity is how we escape the pain of uncertainty.

Franklin knew this too.

In his early years, Franklin loved to talk. He would converse and talk unabated, such was his desire to impress. But he was astute enough to see the risk this posed. He didn’t want his conversations to be with those he considered trifling company.

Franklin knew that obtaining knowledge came through the use of the ear, not the tongue.

He encouraged his friends to use naïve curiosity to avoid contradicting people. It allowed others to speak more without fear of confrontation. There was no value to come from disagreement in Franklin’s mind.

This approach is curiosity in action.

It draws out information for your consideration. Curiosity is the battleground between the known and the unknown. The more you can learn, the more you can begin to grow the known and lessen the unknown.

It is this mindset which can overcome the fear of uncertainty.

Don’t Fear Uncertainty—Embrace It

Embracing uncertainty isn’t easy.

You can’t change your mindset without changing your behaviours. It means breaking free from the metaphysical and the resulting worries. Actions—or rather questions lead us away from the unknown.

This is the paradox of uncertainty.

It begins as it did with Benjamin Franklin—by being curious.

The starting point of curiosity begins with what you know. Asking what you know to be true gives rise to facts. They could be base rates, or it could be a clear vision of the outcome you want. You have a rational basis to tell you what you know and don’t know.

What we know to be true often gives us the comfort to move forward.

Of course, you can never overcome entropy.

The spectre of the unknown will always linger. But you can limit it. You can use new information to guide you through the doubt of uncertainty.

Curiosity offers this opportunity.

It should be the most welcome of paradoxes.

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Keep on making great decisions!

Darren Matthews

Founder, The Resolve Blog

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