Most of our days consist of one routine after another—you get up, brush your teeth. You make that same left-hand turn into the drive through for coffee. You go to work, you come home from work. Even the things we do for fun—the class at the gym, watching movies, can become routines in and of themselves and their outcomes are fairly certain. Nothing wrong with that—it is what it is. However, the greatest rewards in our lives will come from the very thing that routines seek to dismiss: Uncertainty.
So says one of my favorite experts, coach Matthew Walker, author of Adventure in Everything. Walker is also an avid outdoorsman and skilled climber, leading rock climbing trips all over the country for first-timers and seasoned climbers alike. The side of a mountain is his workshop—and it’s where this lesson becomes abundantly clear: that uncertainty is a fact of life, but rather than just tolerate it as best we can, we should embrace it. That’s how life goes from a great big bore to a stimulating journey.
In order to make life more fulfilling, we have to also pursue activities that have uncertain outcomes—even if it feels fairly uncomfortable to do. Think about what you do in a day and whether it’s a certain or uncertain endeavor.
Examples of certain outcomes:
- Going to work
- Cooking dinner
- Going to the movies
Examples of uncertain outcomes:
- Starting a new business
- Writing a novel
- Taking a trip to a new place
Walker says the more we seek out uncertain outcomes, and learn to accept that uncertainty and all the feelings that come with it, the more we open ourselves up to possibility, to “an entirely new way of living with the unknown,” he writes. “When you explore new places and locations, you collect stories and memories that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Acceptance is a gift that frees up the energy you wasted trying to control the outcome, which then allows you to be present to potentiality.”
Where are there opportunities to embrace uncertainty in your life—and what’s holding you back? Rather than worry about what could go wrong, think about all that could go amazingly right.
Terri Trespicio is a writer, speaker, expert, and coach, and creator of bestdecisionallday.com. You can also visit her trespicio.com.