3 Steps to Striving Through Uncertain Times – Living your Questions

The feeling of uncertainty is hard to describe, but we have all felt it. It can be the doubt that inhibits action, the lack of conviction in a particular choice, or the ambiguity surrounding the future. We will all go through phases when everything familiar seems to change – starting a new career, moving to a new city, losing a loved one, starting a new relationship. For some people, graduating from university is one of those times, specifically graduating without any specific plans.

In my experience as a recent graduate, I felt a strong push to have a plan and to know exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. Plans are helpful for some people, but for me, so much can change in a short time that I often have trouble keep plans. I constantly adjust my plans based on new opportunities that capture my interests and move me closer to my goals. It would be safe to say that I am comfortable with uncertainty.

On the other hand, uncertainty can be a difficult friend to have at times. I remember a few months ago, the vastness of choice after graduation and the uncertainty attached to each of those paths frightened and inhibited me from choosing anything at all. Now, after a lot of exploration, I can’t say that I have a solid plan, but I did learn several ways to manage my anxiety, apathy, and fear in the face of uncertainty. The main way that people deal with change is to have a plan, but if you have yet to find something you would like to commit to, below are three steps to approach uncertainty that have helped me in the past! Give them a read!

1. Accept your situation and your emotions.
Often, we think about where we should be and how we should feel, but these thoughts remove us from our current situation to an imaginary place. Accept your situation, as it is, without judgment, as this will allow you to respond instead of dwelling in fiction.

2. See the options by identifying your goals and assumptions.
If you feel stuck, perhaps there is a false and untested assumption that’s blocking you from seeing a wider range of solutions.

Imagine this scenario: you have a final exam in two days, and you want to get an ‘A.’ You like to rewrite all your class notes more neatly, even though your current notes are legible. This takes you over one day to finish, and you struggle to find enough time to study those notes before your exam.
I see this happening quite often within my social circle. We assume that nice notes are necessary for good grades, and this assumption stops us from exploring more efficient studying methods. Find out what assumptions your operating under and ask yourself whether these assumptions are necessary for meeting your goal.

3. Say ‘YES’ to any interesting opportunities that come your way
Be open to the unexpected and try things that interest you, especially if you don’t know where they will lead! See these unplanned opportunities as shortcuts to learning something unexpected! Be fully engaged and ready to work and learn. Once you explore one interest, you will have more insight into your own needs and skills.


Curtesy of Lola Rosa

I know it can be tempting, but be careful not to rush through life and find stability and certainty that you forget to live and experience something unexpected. This time in your life won’t come again, and you won’t feel this exact same way, in these exact same influences, again. And Life is long. I am in my early twenties and most of what I’ve learned and accomplished happened within the last ten years! Imagine living for a few more decades and how full those years could be! Imagine all the unexpected things that could happen!

I will close with this quote:

The opposite of knowledge isn’t always ignorance – it can be wonder, mystery, or possibility. In my life, I’ve found that it’s the things I don’t understand that have lifted me up and pushed me forward much more than the things I do know. It’s also the things I don’t know that have often brought me closer to everyone around me.  – Pico Lyer


A post that may be of interest: How to Get out of a Rut

I’m very happy to have this opportunity to share my experiences on a larger platform than through my personal blog. Sharing is a way to extend and preserve my experience, and I want this sharing to be as helpful as possible for readers! If there is anything I touched upon that you would like to read more on, please leave a note in the comments and I will try to make it happen.   

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