Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken)
I want to share with you something, something wild, dangerous and ultimately liberating:
Uncertainty is always the best.
I realize the chaotic and possible anarchic implications of that statement. But the older I get, the more I observe, the more I introspect, and the more I reason, the more I realize that the path less traveled is often the wisest path to take.
You may be wondering what I mean by this “path less traveled” business. To put it simply, think of the typical paths taken or decisions made by the people in society – and do the opposite.
Think of the typical person – their life goes something like this: go to school, graduate, get a job, meet a lover, get married, have children, raise children, retire, die. Of course, there are little details in between, but most people stick to this textbook style of living.
Not many people stop to think about the paths they take. Thinking outside of the box is largely extinct.
And anyone who deviates from the predetermined path that most people have invested so much energy in, is ostracized, stigmatized or thought of as eccentric, wayward or sinful.
Think, how it would feel to remain unmarried for your entire life, just because your relationship is enough, for itself by itself. Just because it doesn’t need to be sanctioned or legitimized or publicly recognized by anyone. Just because the relationship itself is sufficient a reward, instead of the artificial, fearful protection that an “I do” provides.
Think, how it would feel to do what you want to do, instead of what your parents pressure you to do. To work in a job you want to work in, and not what society dictates is “respectable” or not.
Think, how it would feel to drop out of university just because you don’t want to be there. Just because it’s a ridiculous expectation to study for multiple years, racking up a lifetime of debt in a job that you have no way of knowing you’ll stick with for the rest of your life.
Think, how it would feel to turn right instead of left, to lead instead of follow, to follow a path alien and intriguing to you.
Think about living with no fake guarantees, throwing away all comfortable boundaries and taking risks with no promises of success.
Think about going without permission, doing without planning and dreaming without approval.
Think about experimenting, trying something new, becoming vulnerable, taking the road less traveled by.
How does it feel? Scary. That’s how it feels.
And that’s why people prefer to live miserable and boring lives – because they’re certain and predictable. Not unpredictable and scary.
3 Ways Embracing the Fear of Uncertainty Can Fulfill Your Life
If there’s anything you get out of this article, I hope it’s that you realize how liberating gambling with uncertainty can be every once in a while. You don’t need to become a crazy daredevil to embrace uncertainty, you just need to feel the fear, but venture into the unknown anyway. And this is why:
Courageousness is the opposite of the anxiety that fearing uncertainty brings.
I’ve felt plenty of anxiety in my life because of my inability to embrace uncertainty. I’m sure you have as well. But when we choose to look past our anxiety, not letting it engulf our entire world, we can simply feel anxious, but continue venturing into the unknown anyway.
Courage is a quality of the spirit that is not necessarily embedded in us since birth. Personally, I’ve found that courage is a quality that needs to be cultivated – and the only way to do that is by embracing uncertainty! I’ve found that a good way to cultivate courage is to focus on the goal, instead of the feeling (of fear).
Emotions cripple you, thoughts ground you.
People who fear uncertainty generally have many neurotic tendencies. When you think of a neurotic person, what do you picture? I personally see a fearful, obsessive and mentally perturbed person – and there are many of those people in my life.
Neuroticism can be seen as a maladjusted way of dealing with anxiety, and all anxiety springs from fear of the unknown. Obsessive compulsive disorders, religious fanaticism and controlling behaviors are amongst many symptoms of the neurotic person who fears uncertainty.
And I can’t deny that there isn’t any neuroticism inside of me either, in fact, I believe that most people are neurotic in some form or another. It’s a symptom of living in our society. However, once you accept that life is unpredictable, uncertain and can’t be figured out or controlled, life suddenly becomes very serene. It’s as though a dark veil lifts from your eyes because you see that the uncertainty of life can be quite beautiful and mysterious.
Anyway, if you could predict every day for the rest of your life, what would be the point in living? Your life would become boring and dead, cloaked in predictability.
3. Personal Growth
The most tragic phenomenon to observe in life is the person who has stopped growing.
This person has stopped taking risks, has stopped dreaming and has stopped becoming vulnerable. Essentially, this person has become stagnant as they prefer to live a life of routinary comfort instead of spontaneous risk taking.
In order to continuously grow and strengthen, like a tree, we need to let go of the need to know and the need to be right. As human being, we feel the need to “figure life all out” and to have our lives “all figured out”. We hold, cling and grasp onto anything that will take away uncertainty. Why? Because we fear it. The more we control and the more we abandon the freedom to grow and learn, the more we become stagnant.
Just look at Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So down the road, or you-know-who in your family or friend circle who always live by the same routine, day in, day out. It’s as though their lives are in a perpetual freeze, an eternal frozen animation where everything is safe, and controlled.
Peace lies in letting go of the need to know. Personal growth lies in letting go of the need to control.
If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share any thoughts about the fear of uncertainty below.