Living with uncertainty

Jul 06 2012 by Peter Vajda Print This Article

In the current climate of political, social, financial, environmental and workplace uncertainty, it's hardly surprising that many of us are experiencing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Worry has replaced wonder; anxiety has replaced exhilaration, anger has replaced serenity.

Let your horse lead
There's a story of a man on a galloping horse who passes another. The bystander yells, "Where are you going?" to which the rider responds, "I have no idea; ask my horse."

Mired in a sea of uncertainty and confusion, we turn to others for help. Experts who come in various forms espousing varied hypotheses and theories. But there are as many answers as there are "experts". The only certainty is that no-one knows what will happen a year, or two years, or three years or more down the road.

When we orient to our world from a place of fear, our reactive behaviors take the form of flight, fight, or freeze. We run away from our problems and challenges. We fight, often unsuccessfully, to reduce or eliminate our challenges or problems; or we stand still like a deer in the headlights, paralyzed and perplexed. More than a few are dazed and despairing.

The fact is our problems and challenges have much to teach us, about ourselves. Even deep-seated trauma has a message but only if we choose to stop, explore, inquire and ask for the teaching. That's a huge "if".

Life is choices
Encased in fear, malaise and uncertainly, we have two choices. We can either do nothing, wring our hands and wait in the hope that someone -or something - will rescue and take care of us. Or we can ask why such events are "happening FOR me" and seek the learning that comes from confronting the issues standing facing us from the perspective that there can be no light without darkness.

If we choose, getting lost allows us to open the door to the darkness and seek answers and guidance. After all, we came here from the darkness and one day we'll return to the darkness. So, why not now?

To control or not
Our ego's deep need for control and security is what keeps us fearful and afraid. We can choose to bypass our ego, our conditioned mind, and move towards the uncertainty where we find the real answers to our challenges and dilemmas. The unknown is only scary if we choose to make it so.

One of the benefits of welcoming and embracing the unknown is that the experience takes us out of our own rigid box and supports us to change. Clarity and insight often come from confusion if we can just get out of our own way and remain open to the journey of discovery.


  • How are currents events affecting you financially, psychologically and spiritually?
  • Every cloud has a silver lining; every silver lining has a cloud. Which is your orientation to life and living? Why?
  • How do you commonly react to feeling "lost", to experiencing uncertainty?
  • Are you generally a fearful person? If so, why do you think that is?
  • Do you always need to have all the answers?
  • Would others describe you as a controlling person?
  • Do you ever purposely lose yourself? What is that like for you?
  • At the top of a roller coaster, do you scream with excitement or scream with fear?
  • What was "being lost" like for you, your parents, or your family when you were growing up?

In these dark days of gloom, fear, upset and discomfort, we can resolve, if we choose, to embrace the mystery, to surrender to uncertainty, and to be open to not knowing. And we can do this in a spirit of curiosity, excitement, and openness, rather than cringe from a place of anger, terror, hate or vengeance.

Dark can lead to light
There is beauty in the dark. There is a certainty, balance and coherence in the unknown and there is a wealth of strength, courage and steadfastness in our own souls that support our growth by seeking what we don't know.

This is the essence of true transformation moving consciously through our insecurities. Note that is consciously, not reactively.

Getting lost is what allows us to see the truth not only of our self, but of our relationship to our work, to our world and to others.

Endings are always another beginning; darkness never exists without light.

So where is your horse taking you?

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About The Author

Peter Vajda
Peter Vajda

Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D, C.P.C. is a seminar leader, workshop facilitator and speaker. He is the founding partner of True North Partnering, an Atlanta-based company that supports conscious living through coaching, counselling and facilitating.

Older Comments

Great post Peter. Having lost everything to a vision for business leadership that was a bit early for its time I can say that the journey into the unknown, the uncertain and the unpredictable has been most freeing. It forced me to release attachment to how i thought the world should be or could be and just to be present with what was in the moment. It compelled me to explore my belief system to understand what value each belief was contributing and then jettison the limiting ones so i could see opportunity everywhere. And then there is the fear journey. We like to avoid fear hoping it will go away but as the financial sector demonstrates fear driven decision making is at the source of greed and ethical breaches. So by processing fear, understanding what exactly is under it, the connection to a much wider reality can emerge. Lessons from Uncertainty could be a university course. The Plus? WOW. in personal and professional leadership it is ability to see the big picture, perceive a multi-level reality, be able to use uncertainty to advantage.

Dawna Jones