The High Value of Uncertainty and Doubt

February 3, 2016 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“People without doubt aren’t looking hard enough,” says Seth Godin.

Seth Godin may be the god of blogging, who knows? Anyway, the quote above comes from a blog he did on Doubt vs. Certainty. He also noted, “If you’re certain, you’re probably not prepared for an unexpected future…”

The Uncertainty of Certainty

Certainty. We all long for it. It’s like security. A natural human need. However, both are a myth. Certainty (and even security) doesn’t really exist. No matter how certain you may be about a person (spouse, partner, friend, or colleague)… you never know. They WILL surprise you by doing or saying something unexpected.

“For sure” jobs and projects are never “for sure.” Crap happens. Murphy and his stupid law really do exist. You cannot predict with absolute accuracy the market or your marketing efforts or a vacation or a movie or… life.

Fortunately life is a surprise. How many times have you entered an activity with high expectations only to discover it to be a bummer? Or, the opposite: You thought a person or an outing or a project would surely be terrible only to enjoy the most fabulous of results.

My nature is one that thrives on doubt and uncertainty. Life becomes an adventure. Like the ancient maps with drawings and words in cryptic script, “There be monsters out there.” Sign me up. Bring on the monsters. Let’s have some fun.

Being certain is like going to a movie and already knowing how it ends because some fool has told you about it. Yuk. I don’t even want to know the subject matter of a film. Surprise! Instead of The Crying Game being one of the most surprising movies ever, it would be a drag if you knew the end.

Accept “Not Knowing for Sure”

Why can’t we accept life the same way? Why not trust the hand of Providence, and “go with it?” Marcus Aurelius in his diary later titled, Meditations, writes: “Welcome with affection what is sent by fate… Follow the road where it leads: to the end of life.” You can never be certain where the journey will lead you or even the eventual destination.

Personally, I love it. I love adventure. I am turned on by the unknown. I am motivated by fear. Huh? Yea, I’m scared to death of common fears of failure, acceptance, and safety. But oddly, those same fears motivate me because I love the unknown more than I fear the very real chance of failure. I HATE to fail. But how else do I learn enough to get good at a discipline or have fun or make an adventure?

There is little doubt that three hundred years ago I would have been a sailor/explorer in search of strange lands and strange people. Just for the fun of it. I even dream of being a pirate. How cool! Total renegades treading the waters of riches, death and independence. Oohlala.

So my question is simple, but critical for difference-makers, how deeply do you feel the need for certainty in an uncertain world? Please let me caution you that if it is too important to you, you will most certainly be disappointed more often than not.

Be an UnCertain Adventurer

It’s important for you to relent your need for absolute control and guaranteed certainty. I am not suggesting that there do not exist probabilities. There are lots of things you can count on. Yet even the most probable situations encounter disappointments: no-show appointments, a fender-bender, the car won’t start, the Royals win the World Series (yippee!).

Approach your life as an adventurer not as a robotic receptacle. Experiment and experience. That’s real life!

An Adventurer’s Values

  1. Life is a monstrous treat longing to be tasted. Taste everything you can, and even some things others say you shouldn’t mess with. Surprise. Surprise. Earth is a very big place with a plethora of opportunities to play with.
  2. Try just one thing that you have always wanted to do but were afraid. Let fear motivate you. Allow the adrenaline of fear course your veins until you discover adventure and fulfillment.
  3. Ignore naysayers, critics and “rationalists.” As an adherent of Stoic philosophy, I believe in a rational mind, seeking virtue and character. “Rationalizations,” however, are merely an excuse that “stuck” people try to stick on us weird and crazy adventurist difference-makers.
  4. Bottom-line: LIVE TODAY! Right now. This minute. This second. Open your inquiring eyes and see the greatest of all the surprises our planet has in store for you.

It’s a matter of conscious choice. Choose adventure.

Make a Choice

Choose Adventure

Photo courtesy of mediaphotos at istockphoto

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