The Wisdom of Uncertainty

Posted on 02. Jul, 2013 by in Blog, Lead From Within, Leadership, Leadership Development, Life Balance, Life Skills, Personal Development, Self Help, Workplace

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Alan Watts, the British-born philosopher, has pointed out the sense, which we all seem to share, that we live in a time of unusual uncertainty. He accredits this feeling to all the new technologies and science that we are bombarded with.

The surprising thing is he said this in 1951! Think of how much more truth those words hold today.

Our technology, our business, our science have all grown exponentially, leaving us feeling more uncertain than ever.

Faced with uncertainty, we naturally strive to take control.

Control is an illusion and uncertainty is the reality.

 

The root of our lives is about resisting uncertainty, reaching for a safety zone, but uncertainty is a constant in life and in leadership. And when uncertainty leads to doubt and fear, we find ourselves stuck.

So how do we handle uncertainty?

We can either fight it or lean into it.
We can either fear it or embrace it
We can either control it or try to engage it.
We can either battle it or we can become comfortable with it.

To lead forward in uncertainty:

We can accept. Acknowledging and accepting that there will be uncertainty, we can keep an open heart and mind.

We can observe. When we become observers, we can look outside of ourselves, and we do not need to get trapped in our own difficulties or drama.

We can let go. When we let go of of the notion we can control everything, we free ourselves from the illusion we are in control.

The wisdom of uncertainty is to stay present and accept it, observe it and let it go.

 

Try not to anticipate what will happen but know that whatever comes, you can watch it and wonder how it will unfold.

This life is your life and to live it fully, to lead with wisdom, is to let insight find its way to you.

 

Lead From Within: If you want security, step out of your illusions and know that there is no safety in reality. Uncertainty is here to stay, but how we choose to deal with it is the one thing we really can control.

For coaching, consultanting, workshops,and speaking.Please feel free to contact me.

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50 Responses to “The Wisdom of Uncertainty”

  1. Jo Miller

    02. Jul, 2013

    Lolly, once again I feel like you are tapped into the truth I need to hear and embrace in my professional life and personal experiences – right now, today. I get so busy taking care of others that I forget to give myself permission to not be in control of – everything. I will keep your words on ‘How to handle uncertainty?” posted nearby and reflect on them often. Also, in my coaching business I work with people who are feeling a great deal of uncertainty. Sometimes the greatest leaps forward come right after a client has accepted uncertainty and uses it as a window of possibilities, rather than fighting to keep uncertainty at bay. I will share this post with others. Thank you for being a blessing in my life and for making this very uncertain world a better place. With love and admiration- Jo

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      02. Jul, 2013

      Jo

      Thanks for speaking from the heart! Your wisdom touched my heart with its truth!

      Sometimes the greatest leaps forward come right after a client has accepted uncertainty and uses it as a window of possibilities, rather than fighting to keep uncertainty at bay.

      Thanks so much for sharing.
      Admire you greatly
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  2. Martina

    02. Jul, 2013

    Good points, Lolly.

    The greatest illusion we all fight is that we are in control of anything other than how we choose to react. Change is the norm, Soon or late, we must be bold enough (or afraid enought) that we choose to step into the uncertainty of the future. And, these can provide some of our greatest “aha” moments, because we often come to realize that we have been living in a prison of our own design.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      02. Jul, 2013

      Martina,

      I really admire the way you bring truth with such clarity.

      You are correct when you write, Change is the norm, Soon or late, we must be bold enough (or afraid enought) that we choose to step into the uncertainty of the future. And, these can provide some of our greatest “aha” moments, because we often come to realize that we have been living in a prison of our own design.

      So the question still stands if we know change is the norm and uncertainty is our reality.
      Why do so many of us still worry and have doubts?

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
      • Martina

        02. Jul, 2013

        Because, I think, Lolly, we focus on trying to change the reality first, rather than working on changing ourselves.

        Martina

        Reply to this comment
        • lollydaskal

          02. Jul, 2013

          Martina

          Great point and so true. Speaks to me on many levels what you said.

          Thanks for answering the question!

          Lolly

          Reply to this comment
    • Jo Miller

      08. Jul, 2013

      Martina – wow. Your words, especially the last line really hit home. I always look forward to your response to Lolly’s posts. :)

      Reply to this comment
  3. Rajiv Tandon

    02. Jul, 2013

    Thanks for speaking from the heart!
    we can only have plan A or plan B or plan C or in modern managment we call is risk managment. They can all protect upto a point. Beyond that point Its’ Leadership to lead in uncertain times” To constantly innovate & challenge earliers assumptions , find new ways to survive & succeed.

    Thanks for very useful thoughts in the present world

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      02. Jul, 2013

      Rajiv,

      Thanks for stopping by and bring your wisdom of uncertainty.

      The more we embrace uncertainty the less pain and struggle will be present in our leadership and life.

      We are worry about our illusions.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  4. Panteli Tritchew

    02. Jul, 2013

    Thanks Lolly, for your passion to help us live simply and honestly in this world and to do so with heart-centered consciousness.

    Your post reminds of the old saying that in times of wind and storm, it is better to be a willow than an oak. Resistance drains the spirit and the vitality.

    Happy Tuesday to all! :) Panteli

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      what a great reminder Panteli

      that in times of wind and storm, it is better to be a willow than an oak.

      great truth in nature.

      Thanks so much for sharing

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  5. Alex Barker

    02. Jul, 2013

    Change can so easily cause fear. Fear wants you to love consistency. Consistency hates the possibility of failure. I think most of us have been conditioned to hate failure, instead of embracing it, like change, like uncertainty.
    When I embrace change, I know that failure is a possibility. But there are so many examples of great failures that lead to amazing successes.
    Good post Lolly. Made me put into words my fears.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      Alex

      that is all we have LOVE and FEAR and what we do with it matters.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Appreciate you
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  6. john_paul

    02. Jul, 2013

    “I look at confusing circumstances as opportunity – but not everybody feels that way. That’s not the standard neurotic response. We’ve got a culture that’s based on the ability of people to control everything. Once you start to embrace confusion as a way of life, concomitant with that is the assumption that you really don’t control anything. At best it’s a matter of surfing the whitewater.” – John Perry Barlow (lyricist for the Grateful Dead)

    Allan Watt’s also said “This is IT” – very beat and real.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      02. Jul, 2013

      You write; I look at confusing circumstances as opportunities. I think its pretty great attitude Paul.

      Thanks for sharing

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  7. lollydaskal

    02. Jul, 2013

    Alex

    you speak many truths about fear, change and failure.

    We have been conditioned to feel weak when we fail. which is the the voice of the mind….

    if we could only tap into the inner wisdom of our heart
    failure, fear and change would be seen as a completely different elements in our lives.

    Maybe with us all spreading its wisdom we can collectively make and see the change.

    Thanks for dropping by Alex!

    Reply to this comment
  8. Bill Benoist

    02. Jul, 2013

    I spent the past 17 years working in Information Technology and I recognize first hand how difficult change could be for the folks who were supported by our computer help desk. The thing is, whether our users embraced it, fought it, or leaned into it, change was going to come regardless.

    Sometimes our greatest challenge was helping users accept this fact. Once they were able to get past the fear of their uncertainty, they often found the change was never as difficult as they first thought it would be.

    Wishing you a happy and safe 4th, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      02. Jul, 2013

      Bill

      It really resonated with me when you said,
      AND CHANGE WAS GOING TO COME REGARDLESS.

      how true is that.

      Change is a constant in our lives and the sooner we make friends with it, the less we will suffer.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story with us – it illustrates the wisdom of embracing uncertainty.

      Thank you.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      02. Jul, 2013

      when we are present for openness, we discover that our capacity to love and live is limitless.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Karin Hurt

    02. Jul, 2013

    Uncertainty is toughest for me when it comes to things like illness. So much is contingent and so little is within our control. Even then, it’s about staying in the moment and remaining open to the gifts all possiblities can bring. It’s hard… but powerful.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      02. Jul, 2013

      Karin interesting that you brought up illness: I thought about it too when writing this post.

      Our lives, illness, deaths are all out of our control. The only control we have is how we handle our circumstances.

      especially in illness, it always about accepting our situation and how it manifests to transformation.

      Reply to this comment
  10. Garren Fagaragan

    02. Jul, 2013

    aloha Lolly…

    mahalo for another thought
    provoking post.

    From a Buddhist perspective…

    The concept of Impermanence…
    holds value to those who reflect
    upon it…continuously.

    Holding the VIEW of Impermanence
    provides a space to relate with
    uncertainty…directly…with insight
    and compassion.

    Through his interest in Zen…
    Watts is sure to have touched
    upon Impermanence in his writings.

    From a personal perspective…
    In my thought processes and
    speech…I’ve inserted the word
    Command for Control.

    Inherent in Control is Struggle…and
    as you have stated…
    Its an illusion.

    Inherent in Command is Mastery.

    For example…

    Uncertainty arises.

    Command is the ability
    to respond intelligently to
    that uncertainty on the spot
    to achieve a specific outcome.

    I cast my vote for Command
    over Control and…

    Mastery over Illusion.

    Thanks again for the post…
    and the opportunity to
    share and contribute to the
    conversation.

    peace…

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      Thank you Garren

      For wonderful illustration of command vs control.

      It is something to think about and I truly appreciate your insight and adding some wonderful information under the uncertainties of our lives.

      Truly appreciate you!
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  11. Terri Klass

    02. Jul, 2013

    You did a beautiful job, Lolly, of showing how we each can impact our “uncertainty” by the way we react to it. Life is full of unknowns, but when we realize that it is within our control to respond to them in a healthy way, we accept and are able to move on. Thanks Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      Terri,
      What happens when we don’t move on…
      Uncertainty is maybe staying where you are.
      Sometimes it takes weeks, months or years, sometimes only hours.

      Where we are – that is where we need to be.
      We will stay there until it serves us and when it doesn’t we will move on

      Thanks so much for sharing. Truly honor you.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  12. Rosa

    02. Jul, 2013

    Hello Lolly.
    Thank you for such a timely post for me. It is timely because I am in the moment of feeling stuck and really upset about my future. Should I surrender to the old, well-known, boring same path? Or should I jump into a new and exciting path?
    I have always been so control-driven, calculating, preplanning things. Now I feel tired of it, but scared, at the same time.
    Thanks again

    Reply to this comment
  13. Simon Harvey

    02. Jul, 2013

    Beautiful post Lolly. When we let go of wanting the certainty of tomorrow we can put all of our heart into living in this moment, now.
    How each does this must be their way, and as I have encountered much uncertainty in the past few months I have found that letting go has been the course that has offered me serenity and clarity of vision.

    To let go of the need or certainty of tomorrow frees both mind and heart to be fully open to the change that is here, now, in this moment. Like music flowing from an instrument, change flows around us, swirling, mixing, waiting to be received. How we adapt to it, how we receive the music of change is up to us. But for those that can let go and let the music of change flow within, there are wonders to discover.

    Every moment is a lifetime, because we can only live within this moment

    Let change play its music, let it flow within it so we may create our own symphony of life. Leadfromwithin and live in this moment.

    Thanks for the post, kept me awake for your chat that I am now of to.
    Be well :)

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      So true and so poetic when you say

      Every moment is a lifetime, because we can only live within this moment

      Each moment we can live our life fully, we are not guaranteed any tomorrow.
      Do what you want now in this moment and live your life for now is all we have.

      thanks for the beautiful reminder.
      Truly appreciate your brilliance and light
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  14. Rajeev

    02. Jul, 2013

    There is a law in Physics called “Uncertainty Principle”, which states that many happenings in life are uncertain.

    That is, nothing is permanent in this world.

    Everything is changing continuously. This is the way of life everywhere.

    We can only make a guess of future, and we can never decide exactly what will happen in future.

    And what is more, change and uncertainty is the way of life.

    Everybody needs change in life, in order to make it interesting.

    Your blogs are very worth reading and very useful.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      Rajeev,

      Thank you so much for bring the proof of science, physics, to the discussion of the heart.

      The heart knows that nothing is permanent the heart knows that we only have now.

      We as humans need the proof in science to prove what the heart has been trying to tell us for centuries.

      Thanks for bridging the mind and heart.

      I truly appreciate the INsight!

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  15. Alli Polin

    02. Jul, 2013

    Lolly, You’re right – there is incredible wisdom and strength in uncertainty. It calls forth our most creative, open and powerful selves as we face the unknown with an open heart and open mind.

    I’m reminded of every single HUGE project I ever had during my consulting career. On day one of the project I had faith I could figure it out but I had absolutely no idea how we’d get to the end. I didn’t know that steps 1 – 10 would give me a perfect outcome. I DID know that we’d make it and it would be a creative, challenging and amazing journey.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      Alli

      You speak of two different languages

      one of a knowing- heart
      one of the figure it out – mind

      Bridging the two, laced with faced, gets us to mastery.

      Thanks so much for sharing. Truly appreciate your added wisdom.
      Lots to think and feel about.

      Love
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  16. Dan

    03. Jul, 2013

    A beautiful post and I also love the commentary here, too. We all seem to be subject to moments when we feel the uncertainty as emotional instability. Those moments ARE part of life. For me the challenge has always been to rise in those moments above the feelings that come from my conditioning — things learned as a child: to be frightened by uncertainty, angry about it, or even ashamed of it. If I can rise, even just a little, above the moments, putting a tiny “stop” in my reactivity, I can begin to reclaim myself. Every one of those moments, I believe, holds a lesson, and they are there to teach me how to befriend a deeper wisdom.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      What brilliance:

      if I can rise, even just a little, above the moments, putting a tiny “stop” in my reactivity, I can begin to reclaim myself. Every one of those moments, I believe, holds a lesson, and they are there to teach me how to befriend a deeper wisdom.

      That is truth laced with heart.

      TINY STOPS TO MY REACTIVITY.
      Is what is needed in the wisdom of uncertainty.

      We know what we need to do, now we just have to do it.

      Thank you so much for your added value of wisdom and intelligence.

      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  17. dawoodchishti

    03. Jul, 2013

    Uncertainty has transformed from stress to strength through your innovative look. It is true description of your beautiful mind and soul.
    Thanks, Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Hoda Maalouf (@MaaHoda)

    03. Jul, 2013

    For a dreamer, uncertainty is not a scary thing. It, in fact,feeds us with the hope and energy to keep dreaming.
    My days & nights are full of switch between a dreamer mode and a positive hard-worker mode.
    I’ve done so much so far, but I have much, much more to do.
    So why be scared, just flow with life uncertainty and we will get there, if not there then close enough or even to a much better place.

    Love your post!

    Hoda

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      Hoda,

      thanks for stopping by and you are right …if we are not close enough that means we will get to a better place.

      What a treat to see you here!
      And thanks so much for sharing.
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  19. Shandra White Harris

    03. Jul, 2013

    Absolutely Spot On. Shandra

    Reply to this comment
  20. Marinda

    04. Jul, 2013

    Well Done, I just love your intense insight in live and leadership. You are all about Balance, Thanks

    Reply to this comment
  21. Forrest Long

    05. Jul, 2013

    Thanks, Lolly, for a great post. Your last line “Uncertainty is here to stay, but how we choose to deal with it is the one thing we really can control” is really a great takeaway. Too often in our fast-paced, out-of-control, onto-the-next-best-thing world, with input coming from everywhere … email, IM, 24 hour news, Twitter, etc … it is good to be reminded that there is something that we can always control.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      Yes Forrest, (love your name by the way)

      We can control our choices, we can control our responses, we can control our reactions.
      What we have control over that is which we need to embrace and engage with.

      The uncertainties will be there… the rest is ours to own.

      Thanks for stopping by
      Lolly

      Reply to this comment
  22. Chris

    06. Jul, 2013

    “And when uncertainty leads to doubt and fear, we find ourselves stuck.”

    Have you read ‘Uncertainty’, by Jonathan Fields, Lolly?

    The subtitle is ‘Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance’, which is one way of getting unstuck, isn’t it?

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      06. Jul, 2013

      Chris,

      I dont know the book, but it sounds great.

      As for me, I dont want to turn anything into anything~ it is not meant to be.
      I would like to lean in uncertainty. lean into stuckness and see what happens and the process begets TRUST and TRUTH.

      stuck is a good place to be… it takes us to be where we need to be.

      Reply to this comment
  23. John

    07. Jul, 2013

    This is indeed a lesson I am learning currently, I was faced with the choice of continued Unhappiness or Uncertainty, in the end I chose uncertainty.
    Not that I`m particularly Brave or Clever, I was just so Unhappy.
    And now I`m so glad I did! :)
    I went self-employed, took myself off all welfare, and although I`v only made £11.90 in the last week, it feels like it`s 11 Million in my heart!

    there are Much worse things out there than Uncertainty!
    and selecting This Uncertainty option, I`m in with a chance at least.
    I had No chance before.
    and although I`m not “Comfortable” with it, I shall Embrace it until I am :)

    Thanks Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  24. Kirin

    08. Jul, 2013

    Lolly, many thanks. Uncertainty is the ladder for progress. Opposite is standstill and decay

    Reply to this comment
  25. Rich Armstrong

    18. Jul, 2013

    “step into uncertainty” where the magic begins, but for many they would rather trade the magic for certainty.

    Uncertainty is what separates those that exist from those that live.

    Brilliant post Lolly, its inspiring to know you

    Reply to this comment

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