In our personal and professional lives it’s certain that if you want to get somewhere, you need a goal. Not having a measurable outcome can set you up for failure; you need a target to hit, a bull’s-eye. But the downside to this approach is that in order to have long-term success, you need to operate outside of your comfort zone. A lot. And that means dealing with that constant, nagging feeling of uncertainty.
I believe that if you are committed enough, you will accomplish your goals. But how you get there and what you will do isn’t always clear. The results may completely surprise you and your goals might actually change.
For example, take my blog posts. This may not surprise you, but I usually don’t know what I’m going to write about next. This doesn’t mean I don’t write down ideas. Sometimes I have future topics lined up, sometimes I’ll go for days where I have no idea what to write about and sometimes I’m ping-ponging back and forth between certain topics.
Yet I make sure to sit down at the computer every day. No matter what. Sometimes writing like a madman, sometimes staring at a blank screen like a zombie.
Although it doesn’t feel good, more often than not everything comes about organically.
Most successful people have the following trait in common: an unwavering faith in their abilities that is borderline delusional. They’re overwhelmingly positive and confident.
But they’re also realists; they know it’s not all rainbows and roses. They’re resilient.
It’s easy to be in a productive state of mind. What’s hard is when it’s not working for you and you don’t know why.
It’s a shame to see people give up so soon. They don’t realize that sometimes they’re just a tiny step or two away from achieving their goals.
Did you ever hear the parable about the gold miners? To make a long story short, there were these miners who dug for months without a single shiny object to show for their efforts. As soon as they give up, along come other miners who immediately strike gold in the same area. All they had to do was dig another inch.
Then again, sometimes you think it’s right around the corner, but surprise! There are a few more miles to go…
So stay the course but don’t be a fool about it. Take equal time for self-evaluation. Try to find out if you’re an inch away or on a treadmill to nowhere.
Here’s one way to deal with uncertainty: just expect that unforeseeable events will happen.
The only thing you can be certain about is that the bad will always follow the good. You just don’t know what kind of bad to expect. There will be slumps. There will be difficulties. There will be personal, family, financial and emotional problems. Pure chaos.
Or maybe just minor annoyances. Little flies to be swatted down.
In any case, just know that “winter is coming.” A full-blown blizzard or light snow. Do yourself a favor and get used to it!
If I’ve been in a “flow” state where everything is clicking for me in piano, writing and teaching, I just know I will fall out of rhythm soon. I don’t look forward to it, yet I’m also anxious at the same time. As cheesy as it sounds, there’s always sunshine after the rain. I know I’ll grow (somewhat) or learn (something). Many of my strongest epiphanies and realizations happened after feeling lost and confused for months at a time.
Spring comes after winter.
So get 100% comfortable with uncertainty, stop trying to predict the future. It’s going to happen for you and you won’t know exactly how you’ll get there or how you’ll do it.
Prepare to expect the unexpected. Don’t let things get you down. Long-term progress is bumpy, riddled with detours, obstacles and flat tires along the way. Be prepared for the long run or you won’t make it.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, get some more uncertainty in your life. When most people zig, make sure you zag.