Dealing with uncertainty | Sunday Observer

Dealing with uncertainty

7 February, 2021

In the new normal world, there is more uncertainty than ever before making goal setting, strategy and execution planning very short-lived. Challenges are mounting not only locally but globally too, creating more doubts about the future. 

Yet, we have no escape but to take the bull by the horn. We are not insulated from any of the global issues or local chaos. 

From a local perspective, you have been hearing about a string unexpected economic and non-economic issues. People continue to look for issues to separate and not to unite. If you are like most other people, you are probably spending more time worrying about the recent developments having a direct or indirect impact on your life.

You must be highly worried about the currency devaluation and its implications on your business, potential fuel price hike, consequent inflationary issues, job security, escalation of costs due to Covid-19, rising freight cost, future of your career and growth of income –  it has been terrible, hasn’t it been?. Most things we don’t control but we still need to do our best by controlling what we can. 

Focus on what impacts you

One of the key things you must practice when managing uncertainty, ambiguity and anxiety is to understand the issue in context and decide if it is something you can do something about. It’s inevitable that any issue regardless of whether they are related or otherwise you tend to worry- that’s natural human behaviour so let it be.

But the important factor is that your life has to go on. You still need to achieve your goals in life - to do this you have to navigate these challenges with a single focus in mind. So how can you do it? Correct understanding of the issue is vital to distinguish between what is impacting you and what is not – and decide what you can control and what you can’t.

The ability to turn the negative thoughts into positive thoughts is a must to deal with any challenge. I know this idea sounds simplistic, but practicing this technique is hard but when effectively practiced, it can alleviate a great deal of unnecessary anxiety and stress.

We have a fair share of our own personal problems and we end up spending a lot of time and energy to resolve them. The worst thing that can happen to us is spending time and energy on issues we cannot control no matter if these issues have an impact on you or not. If you cannot control, be aware and align yourself - that is the most sensible thing to do.

 Easy to say, hard to do. Our passion for our work makes it more difficult to worry selectively. Why? The more passionate you are, the more protective and perfection-driven you become. Any concern becomes exaggerated based on your optimistic vision being obstructed. Regardless of whether or not you have influence, you will want to tackle every problem as it emerges.

 This tendency is dangerous. Your energy becomes fractured as you start to obsess over details and situations that are beyond your control. Ultimately, your ideas and plans suffer. It’s said that generally 90 percent of the things people worry about are beyond their control. You can do your own assessment and figure out what your own percentage is. You may be surprised with your own realisation. The key to maintaining a positive attitude in life is to know the difference.

Don’t waste energy

How many times have you been stuck in traffic, being in queues at the government institutions? You began to feel angry, stressed and uncomfortably over anxious? Probably more times than you care to think about, but some of these are things you have no control over, so lighten up, take some deep breaths, and tell yourself, “I am in control over my feelings, and I will not let this situation beat me down. I am in charge of how I feel. I am calm and relaxed.”

This will take practice obviously, but once you start to get this, it will make a world of difference. When you think about how much damage these unnecessary stressful situations harm our bodies, raise our blood pressure, increase frown wrinkles, ruin our day, it is not worth it, and it is a battle you want to take on with positive self talk.

Spend your thoughts on things you can control and think thoughts that bring a smile to your face, rather than an ugly frown. Look for things you can do something about. Change them for results. Small wins at such difficult times will translate to big wins when the operating environment becomes more conducive.