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Here are four truths to help you deal with anxiety and uncertainty of a chaotic and unknowable future:
1. You can’t predict the future.
The main tenet of a lot of our life stress and frustration is this nagging and seemingly scary feeling deep inside that you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. From your career to your relationship to the way your kids will turn out to how things will play out in your business—it is getting harder to figure things out accurately. And it bugs us and eats us up slowly from the inside causing this vicious spiral of worrying and anxiety. Accept it that you are powerless to predict the future, because you’re likely going to be wrong…and guess what? You’ll worry even more!
So what can I do? So stop trying to predict the future and instead try to make changes today and now. That's something you have some control over, and it's probably the best way to hedge the bets in your favor when it comes to future success.
2. Even if you could predict the future, you can’t control it.
Luck, randomness and chance contribute so much to the unpredictable nature of life that it is just unrealistic to think you can control things even if you have a good idea of what may happen. I have a hard enough time controlling my kids, so it would be foolish to think I can control my career or anything else. Break the root of worry by realizing that you cannot control or dictate things to just be. It’s just not possible to have total control of your life when you are so intertwined with so much of the world (i.e. butterfly effect).
So what can I do? Deal with the uncertainty of an unknown future by focusing your energy the only the things you can control: Your thoughts and actions. You can control your mind, so task it to deal with those things that are within your control now and leave the worrying for another time.
3. You’re afraid that you're missing the best time of your life, not realizing that the best time is now.
There is so much you miss in life when your head is in the clouds worrying about an uncertain future. ”My kids grew up in a blink of an eye”, is what so many people say these days. The fact is that we spend a lot of time worrying about a future that we have no control over, and wasting the present which we do have control over. Imagine, you’re here on this rock for a short time and you’re missing the best part because you’re caught up with trying to figure out the future.
So what can I do? Be in the present moment. Being in the here and now is the only truth, so now is the best time of your life, so act like it. When you recognize this fact, you’ll be more productive in your career and your relationships.
4. Sometimes the worst is not as bad as you think.
We often blow things out of proportion and exaggerate the bad that only our own mind thinks is going to happen (without any real evidence). What initially starts off as the "worst case scenario" starts more and more to sound like a realistic outcome. I realized that when I looked back at the chaos of life that I’ve gone through, it wasn’t all that bad. Sometimes, you don’t even remember it.
So what can I do? Realize that a worst case scenario is as unlikely to happen as the ideal scenario because both are exaggerations of potential outcomes. We often doubt that best case scenarios will happen but take worst case scenarios as inevitable -- why? Both are equally likely and so equally unlikely. What actually happens is usually something in the middle -- and way more manageable than you anticipated it would be.