Challenge your thinking about uncertainty

Is worrying about uncertainty really worth it? Let’s assume there are two possible approaches to dealing with uncertainty:

“Requiring certainty” – thinking about all possibilities until you determine which is certain to happen; and

“Accepting uncertainty” – assuming uncertainty is inevitable and unpredictable; you will be better off just accepting it.

To determine which approach is best, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is it possible to be certain about everything in life?

2. Do you know anyone who has absolute certainty?

3. Do you assume bad things will happen just because of uncertainty?
Is this a reasonable thing to do?

4. How likely are positive or neutral outcomes?

5. What is your track record in predicting what will happen?

6. How is “requiring certainty” helpful and beneficial?
Has your worrying made anything more certain or more predictable?
Has your worrying changed the outcome?
Has your worrying given you more control?
Is life still as uncertain and unpredictable as it ever was?

7. How is “requiring certainty” harmful and a drawback?
Has focusing on worst-case scenarios kept you from enjoying the good things you have in the present?

8. How is “accepting uncertainty” helpful and beneficial?
Will you worry less?
Will you learn to face underlying fears?
Will seek out less reassurance from others?
Will you be less depressed?

9. How is “accepting uncertainty” harmful and a drawback?

10. Is it possible to live with the small chance that something negative may happen, given its likelihood is very low?

11. What are some of the uncertainties of life that you are already able to live with?
How do you do this?

12. Can you do this in other situations you find difficult?

13. Is there a level of “reasonable uncertainty“ that you can live with?
What is it?
How do your friends cope with uncertainty?
Can you discuss it with them to see if you can share a few tips with you?

As you answer these questions, you will understand where your logic leads you. In the next post I will cover what some of the experts “think” in this debate.

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3 Responses to Challenge your thinking about uncertainty

  1. CSV says:

    I am enjoying this blog. Finding your latest posts to be timely for something I am currently “worrying” but trying to “wonder about and allow/accept uncertainty.” Not an easy task for an “analysis paralysis person” like myself. See you on the weekend. I have some things for Mark’s boys.

  2. Pingback: Hontz’s Uncertainty Principle « The False Division

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