“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
The human condition hungers for certainty.
Yet, nothing new or creative was ever born from it.
It’s a constant dance, in the middle of “Certainly!” and The Uncertainly, “Of course!” and off course, where anything out of the ordinary appears.
Whatever changeup from the way life is currently and/or comfortably going, whatever crazy dream or aspiration your spirit just won’t let you forget, whatever outlandish step all the pointers of your world are directing you to take…none of these can start with certainty.
For example, our initial offering of The Back Forty INFUSE Program was over a two day weekend in 2015. We had no certainty whatsoever as to how the content would be received, and were basically only putting on our first program as a pilot…to see if the message stood the chance of empowering people.
The response – and testimonials – were surprising, but we had only intentions going in…no certainty or even expectations.
Another example is our Back Forty Broadcasts, happening every Wednesday on our site live stream at 10:30am PST and on Facebook at 12pm. They started out with me in front of my computer sharing a tip or two, with no understanding of the technologies involved (YouTube Live, BeLive.tv) nor even any format. We just began as an experiment. It has evolved into an interview format, sharing ideas and great inspiration from leaders in the second half/best half of life mindset…and is both a helluva lot of fun for me as well as contributing to viewers.
No certainty going in, and even seeming certainty of unworkability many times in the midst of trying, but out the other side comes something valuable.
These are just our recent experiences in The Uncertainly. What are yours?
It pays sometime to remember the FIRST time we tried a new thing, especially if that activity has now become old hat and second nature to us. It wasn’t that way in the beginning.
Remembering these instances of The Uncertainly can support us to take risks even now, and now, and now, as we move into our greater yet to be.
The bigness of the game we want to play will determine how willing we are to reside in the not knowing.
Robert Burns said “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”
That means, don’t wait for certainty…because it’s a mirage. If you see it, run away. If you don’t see it, run toward.
Where can you play bigly, even in the face of off-course-ness and The Uncertainly?
Here’s a few tips to support you to engage in and embrace The Uncertainly:
Pick an area where you have wanted to make a move, whether it be a dream you’ve wanted to pursue or simply a new habit you’ve wanted to incorporate. Just pick something to use as your test case of embracing The Uncertainly because, if your success in whatever it is had already been assured, you’d likely already be pursuing it.
Lock yourself in to some new routine, schedule or commitment to devote time, energy or resources to whatever that thing is for you.
Is it signing up for a 3 month salsa class? Is it devoting 2 hours per week to research some subject in the library? Is it committing to send out 5 inquiries a week to ask for meetings with people doing something that you’d like to know more about, possibly a new career direction or hobby?
Whatever it is, lock yourself into engaging in that thing for at least 3 months, and get a buddy to hear your commitment. Tell them that you want their support to keep pursuing this thing for AT LEAST 3 MONTHS and, if you waver, they are allowed to beat you up to get you back onto your game.
Whatever it takes, simply do what you said you’d do and keep to your schedule for those 3 months.
And, when the voices come up to say whatever they say that would take you away (and they WILL come up) – “This will never work”, “I look stupid doing this”, “I’m not cut out for this”, etc. – just let them fall upon deaf ears because you have committed to a schedule, and you gave your word. Plus, your buddy will beat you up if you stop!
After your 3 month commitment to action and engagement on that thing ends, simply take a sober and loving evaluation of yourself and your interest and expansion into it.
Are you further along than when you started? Is there any more certainty, facility, or understanding from which you can now operate? Is it worth your committing yourself to yet another 3 months of experimentation to grow further in this thing?
Get your buddy to assist with this assessment because, if you’re like most people, you’ll discount your own growth and development. You’re around yourself all the time, so it’s hard for you to see your own expansion. But someone on the outside can see what you can’t. A good buddy will beat you into submission to have you realize how much you’ve grown, even in the face of your cynicism.
Notice that you are making a PLEA for your own courage and support to live the life that you think about but usually talk yourself out of even starting.
Just start, move into The Uncertainly, and you’ll build a muscle for more and more certainty around your second half/best half of life to unfold.
Your radical, playful, passionate and purposeful Back Forty is here for you, in The Uncertainly!
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”
The mature human psyche rarely voluntarily jumps into the game of uncertainty.
As we get older, we can become ever more attached to the knowing of what’s coming next, the assurance of our needs being met, the certainty of the path before us.
A layoff, business downturn, or even the inner need to make a significant change in one’s work, relationships, life, etc., can bring about fear of the unknown.
Yet, in that quest for knowing everything ahead of time, we may miss interesting opportunities and sidepaths along the way.
Think about it: when we go on vacation, though we may plan certain activities, do we want to know everything we’re going to experience beforehand?
There’s no fun, surprise or adventure possible when we already know.
Though it goes against the default closing of the mind and human spirit, taking on uncertainty with an attitude of fun can be a game worth playing.
What totally uncertain aspect of your life could you bring into a game of fun and exploration?
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”