There are times in life when the plot of reality becomes stranger than fiction. Life likes to throw a plot twist into the narrative before the story becomes too predictable.
Recent events have led the world into a plot twist only Bill Gates could have seen coming. As a human species, we can tend to get complacent in our ways as we cling to comfort in normalcy; but time implies constant change, and time never stops.
In a world faced with immense uncertainty, how can we expect to go on with our lives when there is no way to be sure what tomorrow will bring?
The only way to thrive in a time of great uncertainty is to embrace it entirely.
4 Steps to Fully Embrace Uncertainty
1. Set an Intention in Pursuit of a Desired Outcome
Begin with the end in mind. Delineate an ideal life you would like to live, and set an intention toward the desired outcome. If you don’t know what you are passionate about, or precisely what you want to do with your life, then you are in the majority.
It can be difficult to narrow down and precisely define what your niche is. Some people are lucky and know exactly what they want to do with their life and they are able to pursue it. However, for the majority of us what we want to do with our lives is not so blatant.
A thought experiment to get an idea of what you are truly passionate about is to determine three topics you are highly interested in. Once you determine three of your highest interests, try to find where these topics intersect. When you find the place your three highest interests intersect, there you will discover your niche.
If there is no existing subject that relates to your niche interest, great! This is the perfect opportunity for you to pave your path.
Once you determine a niche you are passionate about, set an intention on developing a lifestyle that allows you to pursue your passion.
The reason I use the word intention rather than plan is that an intention has the consistency to subsist and direct through a time of uncertainty when plans are subject to change.
Once you have set your intention, it is time to begin moving toward your intended goal without a rigid attachment to an expected outcome. Determine what circumstances you are being presented with in this moment, and develop a strategy that moves you in the direction of your intention.
2. Hone Your Craft
A life of passion will lead you astray without well-developed skills. Passion is what the world has to offer you, whereas your skills are what you have to offer the world.
When Steve Martin is asked how to make it in show business, he gives a reply that is often overlooked.
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” -Steve Martin
He says people often overlook this advice because it isn’t what they want to hear. People are often looking for some sort of esoteric secret or shortcut to get what they want, but Steve Martin’s advice is so simple it isn’t taken seriously.
To be successful in pursuing your passion, it is essential to become an expert in your niche to the extent that your skills establish value. This is the art of craftsmanship.
Becoming an expert at a skill is only possible through deliberate practice and accumulated experience over time. Openness to fallibility in the short-term presents the potential to learn and further develop your skills.
If you are not making mistakes, it likely means you are not expanding beyond your comfort zone. Becoming comfortable with discomfort is the key to growth. Now is the time to be developing your skills and honing your craft.
When you focus your intention on a pursuit of passion, circumstances will rarely happen the way you anticipate them to; but when you stay attentive, opportunities will present themselves in ways you never could have anticipated. For this reason, it is essential to pay attention and stay adaptable to the constantly changing circumstances you are being presented with.
3. Pay Attention and Stay Adaptable
The moment is constantly changing, and the only guarantee of the future is change. So how can we maneuver through life when there is so much uncertainty of what the future will bring?
The important aspect of life to put your focus into is the current circumstance you are being presented with in this moment. The future is undetermined potential until it is presented into the moment, and the moment is the only place experience and action can take place.
It is good to have plans, but what happens when those plans are shattered by an unexpected event? It is important not to lose sight of your intention, but most likely you will have to adapt to find another way to pursue your set intention.
Opportunities are constantly changing. If we pay attention and stay adaptable, we can take advantage of these opportunities as they present themselves.
4. Take Action While the Opportunity is Present
Every waking moment presents a new opportunity to experience life in the way of our choosing. We cannot control the circumstances we are presented with, but we can harness control over the way we react to said circumstances.
The circumstances we are presented with are not necessarily intrinsically positive nor negative; they can be looked at from myriad perspectives and have potential positive or negative use-cases depending on the actions taken by the individual.
We are living through a time when people are suddenly presented with downtime they did not anticipate.
Now is the time to be working on ourselves and taking action toward our intended goals.
A last word
If we choose to focus our energy on personal and societal improvement, rather than the detrimental fear spreading throughout the world, then humanity can come out of this crisis stronger than ever.
Society is a collection of individuals, and if we want to see a beneficial change in society, then the change has to begin on an individual level. Now is the perfect time to develop our skills, educate ourselves, and hone our crafts.
The best thing we can do for society is to each work on ourselves as individuals, offer something of true value for the benefit of society, and assist others in doing the same.