We often hold uncertainty as something negative, something scary. Our brains, being the control freaks they are, definitely aren’t pro-uncertainty.
And yet, uncertainty means something is not yet written. In other words, it’s something that’s full of potential — an unsealed fate!
Uncertainty is having limited knowledge about an event, person, occurrence, or topic, and it’s future. In our busy minds, that means it’s difficult to control things, plan things, or calculate what is to come – which if you’re the average control freak, is a bit nail-biting.
It’s easy for friends, family, and co-workers to gab on about “rolling with the punches,” talking about how “fine” you’ll be, or just telling you, “don’t worry about it, relax.“
The physiological effects uncertainty has on our brain and body, however, are very real. And if you struggle with real challenges like anxiety, depression, mood disorders, or compulsions, it might make it even more challenging to adapt to uncertainty.
I’ll explore all the details about cognitive control and how our brains biologically handle uncertainty in the next article, but for now, I want to talk about how we can temporarily find pleasure in it.
You see, part of the reason we have discomfort with uncertainty is that we are uncomfortable with doing nothing.
Overcoming the Discomfort of Doing Nothing
So part of overcoming that discomfort is becoming comfortable with, and finding pleasure, in not doing.
The Japanese philosophy of Boketto is the omnomatepeic word for “doing nothing” — not reading, not being productive, not dreaming, not thinking – just gazing out and watching the world pass by, breathing, and being.
You can practice it right now, by shutting your laptop and just staring out your window for a few minutes.
If you just gave that a go, you probably found that it’s a bit harder than it sounds — thank you crazy world! So, if you found doing nothing a bit challenging, you can experiment with a guided meditation like the one I’ve recorded and included below. It’s a great way to scaffold into the practice.