Let’s talk about dealing with uncertainty because intolerance of uncertainty can really get under your skin and disrupt your entire life.
Certainty is like a warm blanket for the soul. We crave it. We need it. Can you imagine losing all capacity to feel certain? Life as you know it would end. Given how things get, dealing with uncertainty is a super helpful skill.
How do you deal with uncertainty, ideally?
By understanding the cause, which may not be what you think, especially when you’re feeling uncertain.
When you can handle uncertainty, you reach a rare pinnacle in life because so many of us just can’t do it. We scramble for that warm blanket but too often find comfort in denial.
How do you deal with uncertainty while facing the facts? This is the question we’ll answer in this post.
The best way to begin is by watching this short, precise video called Dealing with Uncertainty. Please view it below! It was a prerecorded part of a webinar viewed by iNLP Center life coaching students.
The simple steps within it could make all the difference in your life for years to come. And if you use the accompanying worksheet (bottom of this page), watch out! You might become unstoppable:)
Some Key Points about Dealing with Uncertainty [from the video]
Uncertainty is defined as:
- The state of being uncertain
- Something that is uncertain or causes one to feel uncertain.
There are some things that are inherently uncertain and then other things that make us feel uncertain. Being able to separate and know the difference between the two is going to be helpful.
Something that is uncertain, we can also call a fact. The question is, can facts cause uncertainty? Can something that is uncertain cause a lasting internal state of uncertainty? The answer is that facts cannot cause a state of uncertainty. This is not only interesting but also provides hope for a way out of this state.
Facts are verifiable and observable, whereas states are interpretations of facts. For example, we can know that a certain number of automobile accidents occur every day. The inner state of somebody who hears that fact might be that they are afraid and refuse to drive because there is a chance that they can get into an accident.
Another person might look at the same fact differently.
Maybe some believe they will never get into a car accident because they are a great driver. Someone could also take the middle road and think there is a small chance that they’ll get into an accident because they do occur, and try to drive safely to prevent an accident.
A state of uncertainty is an interpretation of a fact or an inner experience based on something we experience or observe in the real world.
There are many different ways to interpret facts and we cannot prevent ourselves from interpreting everything that happens around us. However, we can become aware of our interpretations.
Then, we can begin to have a choice in how we interpret. This can have a lot to do with whether we live in a state of certainty, uncertainty, or somewhere in between.
The Brain and Dealing with Uncertainty
The problem is the brain processes facts and beliefs through the same network, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. This is why we all can stare a fact in the face and still deny it. The truth is malleable to the brain!
If you have a bias towards negativity, your brain will tend to interpret facts according to the worst-case scenario. Then, we use the facts to justify our interpretation. Because we reference a known fact, we believe our interpretation must be correct without separating it from the fact.
NLP and life coaching are handy in this case because we focus on internal states. VAK is an NLP term meaning visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. An internal state of uncertainty is made of imagery, sound, and feeling sensations.
When we hear a fact, we process it internally by talking to ourselves, seeing the outcome of it (i.e. worst-case scenarios played out), or experiencing feelings about it.
Uncertainty Has a Mental Structure
Our internal world has a structure to it and when we are able to pay attention to this structure, we can begin to realize that dealing with uncertainty has a lot less to do with the world around us and more to do with life on the inside.
We can identify the images that play out in our minds and distinguish the fact from the internal state. Knowing the difference between the two may offer an opportunity to manage uncertainty.
Knowing what to do to learn the difference is between our internal state and fact involves three steps that you can practice on your worksheet for the video.
How to Deal with Uncertainty ~ Three Simple Steps
Download the How to Deal with Uncertainty Worksheet as a guide through the steps and more.
- Identify the relevant fact that you are concerned with.
- Describe your interpretation of the fact and label it as your interpretation. This will make you begin to feel a sense of choice.
- Brainstorm alternative interpretations that may be more appropriate and yield less internal uncertainty. These alternatives must not deny the fact and still be reasonable, lead you to take precautions, etc.
Once you begin working on these three steps and learn how to distinguish fact from internal interpretation, then explore alternative interpretations, you will find that your mind will ease and loosen up.
If you are NLP trained, you can then begin to alter the internal images and self-talk (which affect your feelings) and replace them with different imagery and self-talk. This will restructure your internal thinking making the alternative interpretations – that are more reasonable and give you less uncertainty – your own.
Here’s that worksheet again. It contains full instructions that outline how to use it. May you see the world in a way that really works for you.