Monday, October 3, 2011

Living with Uncertainty

Few things are black and white
from a revue of a new success book, Uncertainty, in the good blog, The Simple Dollar
The first step in this process is to figure out your “certainty anchors.” In other words, what things are you absolutely certain about? What experiences are ones that you can rely on? What things can you rely on, no matter what? Simply put, once you figure these things out, you can always rely on these things and experiences as examples of your own success. For example, I know I can succeed with paying down my debt, so this experience of success shows me I can handle other things that require willpower.
 Seems Uncertainty is not Buddhist-founded, but is an exploration of being willing to take creative steps without certainty.  The above is good practical advice, but I think it's valuable to bear in mind that, at the same time, nothing is certain.  Many many factors enter into every moment. We work with probabilities.

I sigh when I remember The Little Engine that Could, from my own youth and my daughter's.  Its vivid story is, Just keep saying "I think I can" until you reach "I know I can" and you will be able to climb the mountain that you are not constitutionally fit to climb.

I often think these days how nobody else knows what I need right now, taking that in the spiritual sense.  Maybe I don't know, but I do know myself more intimately than anyone else does.  I alone have had my experiences.  I do know I have a lifetime endowment of pushing, trying hard, forging ahead fearlessly.  I have a lifetime endowment of running through pain, as I posted while on that retreat.This was not useful on the retreat where it finally led to falling down and breaking my arm.  I was tired, deeply depressed and, it turned out, suffering from a bladder infection, diagnosed last Friday.  In retrospect, I would have been well-advised to go home when the weekend retreat ended on Sunday, and not stay for the week. 

But it is very easy to not want to be at a retreat, when it is scraping at your denials and pain.  I've seen someone leave on a whim.  (Though how do I know what his pain really was?)  It is not something I do lightly.  So, uncertainty.

Your certainty anchor?  Things will change.  You will die.  Every carbon life form will die, including the cats and people you dearly love.  You will lose your favorite earrings, your figure, your vital chi, and your best friend.  You will mess up all the time, though it usually doesn't much matter.  BUT - your life will be old and stale if you won't take a step until you (think you) know the outcome.  So, creative courage in the face of uncertainty - generally, I think, a good idea.  Don't expect too much.

1 comment:

  1. Creative courage in the face of uncertainty without expecting too much. Yes, indeed. May there be small delights in that creativity to make the negatives of uncertainty a little less overwhelming.