We Must Lean Into Uncertainty

June 23, 2012 — 3 Comments

I’m a fan of familiarity.

That is to say, I’m not a fan of uncertainty.

And, to a certain extent, it probably means I’m lazy.

The thing is, I rarely take the time to figure out how to do things more efficiently.  When I was younger my parents got me a myoelectric prosthetic arm.  When you’re a kid, what’s not cool about a robotic arm, right?  Well, I’ll tell you: taking the time to learn how to use it when really you just want to be outside playing.  I never hated my myo or anything, I just didn’t need it.  I knew how to do the things I wanted to do already and didn’t want to “waste my time” learning a new way.

I’m still like that.  It’s not a conscious thing, it’s just my nature, I suppose.  For instance, I enter data on a compter all day long at my job.  There’s one particular sequence of keystrokes wherein I have to use keys on opposite sides of the keyboard and it’s quite annoying when doing it with one hand.  About FOUR YEARS into my job, performing this sequence day in and day out, I thought to myself, “Ya know, I could probably reformat my keyboard to put that Tab button from the left side to the right.”  It took approximately three minutes to do so and voila!  Now it’s the easiest sequence I use.

My first thought wasn’t, “Wow, this is great!”  It was, “YOU IDIOT!  You could’ve done this YEARS ago!”  But again, it’s just not in my nature.  I do things how they work for me and that’s good enough.

Sometimes I feel bad about it.  Like, I have one hand so I should be actively seeking out all the ways to do things more efficiently; finding all the one-handed tools people have invented to help me.  My mom brought over an electric pencil sharpener yesterday (for the kids) and I was all, “Oh, hey…nice.”  Truth is, though, I just use mechanical pencils or pens.  And we have one of those electric can openers, but 9 times out of 10, I just use the manual one.  It works fine.

One-handed pencil sharpener. So lazy.

And while I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with my affection for familiarity, there’s something to be said for learning to embrace uncertainty.  At least that’s what my therapist says.  In fact, Brené Brown says it isn’t enough just to embrace uncertainty, we need to lean into it.  And while I struggle with that, I know I need to do more of it.  Try new things and see how they go.  There are about fifty things on my “Next Steps for Living One-Handed” list that I’m nervous to try, but I know I should just do them.  Setup those speaking engagements.  Write that eBook.  Make that appointment.  Record that podcast.  Pen that kids book.  Start the memoir.  These all sound exciting, but they are also unfamiliar.  The “What If” game steps-in and makes me hesitate.

Does that happen to you, too?  Do you get stuck in the familiar and stay away from the uncertain?  How do you push through it?

I’d love if you shared some of your successes and/or failures from leaning into uncertainty!

The truth is, and I know this from experience, if we live every day doing only what is familiar to us…life gets boring.  We need to embrace uncertainly, accept conflict, and get excited about what things are going to look like on the other side.  It can be scary and uncomfortable, but we need to do it.  I just don’t see any other way around it.  And I believe that the more we lean into the unknown and take risks and confront conflict, the more exciting and meaningful our lives will be.

Let’s make life exciting.

Let’s lean into uncertainty.

Tell about one practical way you can lean into uncertainty today!

(Join the LOH Facebook community and follow on Twitter, too!)


Posts Twitter Facebook

I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

3 responses to We Must Lean Into Uncertainty

  1. Ivor (England) June 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I am inclined to be like you, Ryan .. in these ways, too, even if my “old” way takes a lot longer.

    Things to try ..

    1. Help in your local (church/community) advice centre with those who are bombarded/bewildered by paperwork/debts/lack of money etc etc .. it took me out of my comfort zone but I have met some fantastic people burdened by misfortunhe not of their doing .. and |I “love” to be able to help them out of their problems/difficulties (with God’s help, I hasten to add)

    2. Change from a manual to an automatic car was a giant challenge to me .. “I am not so old and decrepit for that” (I am 69) .. but do you know my car journeys are so much easier

    3. Stand up for injuustice when you see it even if it means you get ridiculed/attacked (eg a disabled refugee being set-on .. intervene even if you do get hit/bruised). I found the bullies soon went away.

    4. Just try whatever dau8nts you and ask God to help you through ..

  2. How did you change the tab key? I thought of that quite awhile ago and looked around to see if it was possible but couldn’t find out how to do it. That would help me a LOT!

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML. <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>