I remember reading a few years back War and Peace, there was a scene, where the battle didn’t go probably go as anticipated. Yet the Russian army officer in charge looked at the result and said “everything gone as planned.”
Life is full of uncertainty. Ability to build the mental preparation and flexibility to be ready for whatever happens and think of everything that happens going as planned is a quality which I admire and strive to.
One of my favorite phrases in the recent times is that the hurry is just lack of preparation. We need to be preparing the right things at all times. What kind of preparation this is then that allows us to have the peace of mind under pressure?
In Buddhist terms this could be called “right action” and “right knowledge.” Right knowledge, knowing that you’ve thought of all the possible scenarios, sought help and a different perspective and right action because you know you’ve done everything in power to prevent this outcome. You have done everything, so therefore everything is as it should be.
In the game of Go, the side that has more liberties usually ends up winning. Same in life, where liberties mean more plans. More freedom to execute these plans and choose the best from all the possible options.
Mental preparation is anticipation for future scenarios. Do not attach too much to a plan or a result. Let your mind seek more opportunities with less attachment. Be mindful and present. Only thing we can really lose is the present. The future nor the past cannot be taken away from us, only present can.
Everything you need is in the moment, you do not need more. Let everything that appears in your present to be part of your plan and everything goes to your plan 😉
Uncertainty can be a torment or bliss.
When you grow and adopt growth mindset, you’ll start to invest more which means taking risk and working to reduce the chances of failure. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Uncertainty is always present.
Then at times, you’ll know you will probably win. Or you will know something will probably happen and you’ll start thinking how could you use that something to your and everyone’s advantage.
When you grow, you’ll learn. Through the learning you’ll see. When you see the future as exciting potential you are living an exciting life. Every morning starts to be exciting, because exciting opportunities start to appear here and there.
Suddenly your attention is not on what whet wrong, but what can potentially go right. Of course your still work the basics right and work to reduce the risks, but you will start to see the potentials.
Seeing the potential, and living the potential to something it could become, something more or something surprising is what makes life exciting.
Some thoughts, that life should be exciting. Exciting takes work, we need to learn to see the exciting and the potential. Or that’s at least the path I’ve had to walk: to see all the potential.
Life is uncertain. This is exciting if you learn to be opportunistic in a healthy way. By this I mean the mentality and capacity to take advantage of what happens in life due to uncertainty.
First step to take advantage of everything that happens in life means accepting that anything might happen.
While this might seem terrifying, what helps to deal with this is belief that almost all that happens has a good side to it.
Belief in to abundance and that world is by nature good provide the basic sense of security. I mostly reinforce this belief in myself with simple practice: if I do good deeds, good things will happen to me. Karma.
All things have the good side and is a learning opportunity for very at least.
Sometimes still world catches us by surprise and when our core beliefs are in shape we are not rattled too much.
Today such event happened to me, after eight days of travelling I was heading to Arlanda airport and forgot my luggage to the train. When I realized this it awful as well as familiar: I’ve lost things before in the state of tiredness and travel.
Well although I wasn’t sure of the best way to proceed I quickly figured it out and got my luggage from the end station. All was well and it wouldn’t have been the end of the world, just a minor annoyance, a bump in the road.
This event just reminded me that anything might happen at any time. I am grateful,accepting and forgiving all the time.
The key realization that I’ve from my life so far is that easy and comfortable start does not equal to easy and comfortable finish. In fact what makes life fun is its unpredictability. Work is a magic factor in that unpredictability that can minimize the risks and maximize the probabilities.
Therefore I don’t believe in lotto, I believe in probabilities.
Easy and comfortable is the lotto mindset, a mindset that I used to have for about first twenty years of my life. I had an easy and comfortable life and I was quite shocked as I realized that the reality is not adjusting to my comfort levels at all times.
My first reaction was to try to avoid the truth, escape it. That didn’t work very well, so a bit by bit I started to accept it and accept the responsibilities with it.
A bit by bit my mindset changed from wanting the easy and comfortable, to wanting challenges that are a bit strenuous and uncomfortable. This accompanied me with the realization that in order to grow, we need to spend most of our time in the uncomfortable and strenuous activities.
As I write in how to develop courage, we have to spend most of our time outside our comfort zones and then recuperate in the zone of comfort.
The picture would look like this:
Work is both productive, and you learn. With this you can further reduce the risks and increase the probabilities of success.
If we focus to that which you can control, we will be better off. Lotto too is the game of probabilities, and unless the numbers are not with you, they are against you. Better choose a game where you’ve more control over the probabilities.
When you learn, you’ve more accurate sense of reality, risks and probabilities. In the long run learning is the key. Luck is reserved for those who understand it is inevitable with right actions.
Past two weeks I’ve been thinking about uncertainty. I am also reading Taleb’s book Antifragile about the topic as well, which has no doubt influenced my thinking.
Furthermore today, I got an insight for myself in the form of this question: what if all the great things we have in life, are in fact produced from the uncertainty by someone who has been willing to do some work?
Leila Hoteit put it even more roughly in her TED talk, where she mentioned that one of her strengths is the ability to convert sh*t into fuel. I like that idea, in fact most I do think it as a manure rather than anything else.
By the thinking clarity I reached today I mean that literally anything that I can for example perceive as a quality today, would mean that someone in there has been enduring uncertainty, taking risk, taking all those unpleasant feelings and converting them to something else.
I began to ponder, is this all our faith who want to have something? Is it something we need to do – to learn to build on that which life gives to use?
The proverb says “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Also Ajahn Brahn has a Donkey story, with the similar lesson.
So what if greatness is a process, where you live the present moment and make it great to the best of your abilities?
I start where I yesterday ended and attempt to answer the question, on how to transfer the great feeling of today for tomorrow as well?
There is a lot of uncertainty in life, therefore it’s impossible to predict and for sure expect great results each time. Important thing for the sake of meaning is to have great sense of the bigger goal and the track – where I am now? When you know the big goal, and you know where you are in terms of that, it gives you sense of protection and sense of success. You are literally moving the mountain stone by stone.
Now you know what is your big goal and what your goal for the day is, you can start to plan the day. What are you going to do each moment? With this kind of precise planning, you will be able to forecast predictably will you be on track.
In the best case you will plan some activities that you are sure to succeed right at the start of the day. This will create the momentum, which allows you to achieve excellent results through the day.
I’ve been learning to live with uncertainty past year: I feel like I’ve gotten a way better at that. In fact I’ve gotten so good, that I do not stress out of the small things that would’ve made me lose good night’s sleep a year ago. It’s amazing how much our mental capacity to manage uncertainty can change!
Mostly I would attribute the change to just better understanding of reality, how things actually are instead of how I think things are. Before I would’ve been stressed, because I did not know better what is the nature of reality and especially people in that reality. Now I am more learned about the nature of people and on the other hand I worry way less about the future that is not yet present.
Calm in the present moment is the best we can do.
Even in the long term things, like investing I’ve found the ability to withstand uncertainty really helpful. This helps making investment decisions systematically and to stick with the consciously devised plan, instead of going here and there.
Action plans are helpful, because no matter in what kind of turmoil we are in, we have something thought out, some plan or strategy to follow. Some values to guide us.
Preparation certainly helps to deal with uncertainty, but in the end what matters is the ability to stay calm and look at the reality.
Nature of life is forward. We have to accept the reality to move forward. The more we can accept our reality, the more uncertainty we can take.
We have a lot of control over certain things in our life, focus most of your energy to that which you can decide and influence and you are in a good shape: you have sense of control over the chaotic. Our minds are perfect example of something we can influence and even control at times.
* This is a topic that I will definitely explore further, until next time.