Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.
John Allen Paulos


When life is going our way we often feel successful, in control and optimistic. Certainty provides us a sense of comfort, whereas uncertainty may lead to an overwhelming sensation that life is out of control and a pessimistic outlook for the future. We are faced with constant uncertainty in life regarding our future (health, finances, weather….) that we cannot predict what is going to happen next. We can make educated and informed decisions, but it is difficult if not near impossible to be 100% certain about what the future holds.

Illustration of man walking on tight rope with a question mark ending.

Presently, there is been much uncertainty about the future regarding the local and global economic outlook. Uncertainty generates many questions, many of which do not have answers. One thing that we can predict is that uncertainty creates stress, and this stress can either mobilize us to take action or paralyze us, which leads to increased stress. Uncertainty is a significant contributor to stress and therefore can negatively impact our overall mental health. Gaining control of uncertainty when we do not have answers to our questions is not possible. I believe the goal is to address uncertainty from another angle – learn how to live with uncertainty.

One affirmation that I focus on with clients is “no regrets!” The small caveat being that it is without hurting or harming oneself or others. You cannot know what you don’t know and therefore trying to predict and control what you don’t know only leads to ongoing stress. Recognize that every choice and decision that you make in a given day, week, month or year was made with the knowledge and experience that you had at the time. Hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes, but beating yourself up because you made an informed decision, with information you had on hand at the time, that did not pan out does not benefit you in any way. Learn from the past so that you do not repeat prior mistakes and live with no regrets.

There are multiple tools that you may find of benefit you while trying to live a regret free life in the face of uncertainty. One such tool is to ensuring that you focus only on what is in your control and try to let go of the rest. Practice mindfulness meditation and relaxation skills when feeling overwhelmed. Gather knowledge and information to help you make informed decisions without the expectation that with knowledge your decision will always be correct. Prepare yourself for all possible outcomes.

John Allen Paulos“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia.