Certainty of Uncertainty

I often wonder if we’ve always been so desperate to control everything or is it because we now live in a world of overwhelm?

Too much information, too many plates to juggle, a culture of anything is possible and so our dreams are always so aspirational they’re almost always just out of reach. Seeking control might be our only way of holding on while on the rollercoaster crazy information overload world we live in.

Tony Robbins believes that there are six basic human needs; certainty, uncertainty, significance, love, growth, contribution.  At any one time we’re likely to be seeking the needs being met of one or two of those needs.  And sometimes we may have learnt really bad ways of getting those needs met due to our conditioning and upbringing.  Take for example the child who’s learnt to gain significance by being sick and then appears to be sick an awful lot more.   Some people even carry these habits into grown up life!  I’ve never selected certainty when I’ve been at a Tony Robbins event because I know I get bored and crave variety, adventure, spontaneity, that love, significance, growth and contribution always seemed waaaaay more important to me.

I have many a friend who love to be in control, and I am more than happy to let them get on with organising and cover the ‘spontaneity’ planning if they desire.  I used to think I had control in the bag…..whatever life threw at me, I’d tackle it (or someone else would want to tackle it more)… until I became self employed.  Boy oh boy does that teach you a thing or two about certainty and uncertainty, particularly in the start up years.

  • From the security of my regular and rather cushy salary to not knowing where my next income would come from and whether I’d be able to pay the basic bills some months
  • From clear goals and accountability filtered down from the CEO’s vision for the business to not knowing whether I was coming or going with so many goals, activities, vision setting and to do lists
  • From the security of specialist support teams like finance departments and supply chain specialists to help with the difficult (boring) stuff, to being Miss Board Woman covering everything from finance, to marketing, to sales, to operations, to HR, to office parties (for one!) boring or exciting it seemed to be on my to do list and with no one to delegate to
  • From a world where most of my friends lived and worked a 9-5 monday to friday to the life of a free range human where I could work  whatever whenever and wherever I wanted

Throw a court case on top of this new weird and wonderful self employed world peppered with uncertainty and suddenly I realised my need for control was off the richter scale!   The thing about reporting anything to the police and CPS deciding to take the case to court, is that it stops being about you.  You become merely a witness in a case from the Crown.  After you give your permission for it to go court, it’s out of your hands.  It’s someone else’s rollercoaster and you can’t get off.  Probably a good job as I may have changed my mind once or twice.

I had to dig deep and learn to let go, to trust that whatever happened was happening for a reason and as a result I tried to tighten the control in my new businesses instead, suffocating them at some points I’m sure.

A funny thing happened to me after the court case that helped me see this is whole control freaky world in a new and refreshing way.  One day walking my dog Murphy, basking in the haze of relief after the case was done and dusted, I contemplated just how much uncertainty there was in my life and how I’d NEVER be able to control it all however I tried.  Then it dawned on me we spend our entire lives chasing certainty and control and yet the only thing in life we can be CERTAIN of is UNCERTAINTY itself.  How ironic don’t you think?  Even death isn’t certain because no one , NO ONE really knows what happens when you die (until you die of course).

So next time you’re in a wrestling match between control and uncertainty, loosen off your grip a little, trust yourself, and remember the only thing you can ever be certain of in life, is that it’s full of uncertainty.

With love Jenxx