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Uncertainty Is Your Best Friend So Stop Freaking The Hell Out

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Embracing Uncertainty

Remember all the times every week that you think to yourself what the hell am I doing on this planet? Why am I here? These thoughts surround all of us, and we spend most of our time pondering what’s next and what our purpose is.

Guess what? These are the same thoughts that we all have; even the successful billionaires who we think have it all – they don’t by the way. Our lives are supposed to be an uncertain mess, and we aren’t supposed to have any clue why we are here.

Uncertainty is where all the fun is because if you knew every episode that was going to occur in the TV series that is your life, you’d get bored pretty quickly.

My own uncertainty

I’m about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and head over to my teenage fantasy destination: America. The so-called land of the free and happy where capitalism dominates and everyone is supposed to be living the American dream.

So far, from what I read on Tripadvisor, there are a lot more problems in the USA than the spectacular, picturesque postcards are showing me. Side note: does anyone remember getting a postcard? Man, I can still remember my grandparents sending me a postcard when they would go to Queensland every year.

I thought postcards were so cool when I was a kid, and I kept them in a photo album (another ancient, outdated artifact). Now, we get high definition photos emailed to us or posted on Instagram, and we spit at our computer screens if there is so much as one blemish on someone’s skin (I’m ranting again).

Back to uncertainty – as I embark on this trip to the USA to meet all of the tech giants that have become bigger than the manufacturers like Sony that we used to worship, I think about how I have no idea what I’m doing. This trip feels like the right thing for me but who knows in the end.

“Sometimes we have to follow our heart regardless of where it may lead us”

At the same time, I’m contemplating about a special someone who may become a girlfriend at some point in the future. Will I mess up again and am I even going to be able to find happiness?

Again, who knows. Your guess is as good as mine. All we can do is embrace the uncertainty and allow it to guide us in a direction that has fulfillment somewhere along the journey. As all of these thoughts buzz around my head, I think about my blogging and my public speaking.

Is anyone even listening and am I even the right guy to be doing this? Uncertainty rears its head again, and the only conclusion I’ve come to is that we must follow our passion no matter what. I know I’m at least inspiring ten people, and that has to be good enough to begin with.

It’s easy to race ahead and want to inspire a million people from day one but success doesn’t work like that my friends, and we all know that at some conscious level. Success starts with one small step, and just one follower admiring what you do.

If you only follow your passion to impress or influence other people, then you are heading for a whole lot of pain. You’ve got to impress yourself first and foremost before worrying about anyone else. If nothing more, if you can impress yourself and be happy with what you are achieving, that may even be enough.

Avoid the temptation to become and overnight success because there is no such thing. No one can be certain of anything least of all you and the dream that you hold. I hope that one day I can stand on stage and deliver a speech that moves the nation.

Right now, I’m still at the start of the journey and learning the basics. Maybe I’m meant to do this, or maybe I’m not. What I’ve learned is to have faith in the process, and if it doesn’t work out then at least I have the strategies, knowledge, and people I met along the way.

Practice being uncertain

The way to become best friends with uncertainty is to practice. It sounds self-explanatory people, and that’s because it is. Every day, try and do something that is uncomfortable. Maybe it’s hanging around people you don’t know or helping out at a local homeless shelter.

For me, I find traveling the world, and public speaking put me in states where I have no idea what the outcome will be. The awesome thing about travel for me is that I choose destinations I have never been to before, and I try not to plan too far ahead.

All these fools who plan every minute of their trip using an online planner are crazy. Go with the flow, relax, and travel at your own pace, and do the activities that feel right to you on the day. I’ve found that when I plan too far ahead, I bring back my old best friend called anxiety.

The friend that nearly made me lose it all, and that I finally conquered through personal development. Pull the pole out of your ass and ask yourself are you pushing the boundaries regularly? Are you truly taking it to the next level and breaking your own patterns?

I think of it like this: corporates are trying to become like startups and disrupt themselves. This trend is something you can use in your life to reach the same outcome.

“Twice a year, disrupt your thought patterns and go freakin a-wall”

Listen to music you’ve never heard, watch a film with nudity if you’ve always watched things that are prim and proper, change the way you dress, travel the world, talk to someone who’s not your type, read a fiction book if you always read non- fiction, shake things up guys.

I’ve done this recently by reading Harry Potter, and I never read books about wizards or magic. If that wasn’t enough, I changed my look and added some more swag. Then, I spoke to some people at work that I never speak to and ate a bunch of food like Pho (strange name) that I never eat.

When you are not disrupting your life regularly, you get the opposite effect of uncertainty: certainty. You need both to live a balanced life and an unbalanced life, but too much certainty will make you bored as bat sS@&^!

Time for an exercise

Uncertainty is a practice, and there are so many ways to master the art of being bold, and being fearless. Joel Brown gave me an idea the other day for an exercise that I want you all to try. Tim Ferriss has also taken up this challenge recently as well.

I want you to get your butt off the couch, and try for the next 21 days, making a Vlog (video blog) every single day. That’s right; pull out your smartphone with its HD camera and record your thoughts, some advice, or how you’re feeling and post it on social media for everyone to see.

The reason why this exercise is fantastic is because it forces you to come up with new ideas every day and embrace being uncertain. Without any scripts or preparation, I want you to make a video. You can begin with having multiple takes and then cutting them up, but after the first two weeks, I want you to record a video for a minimum of five minutes without stopping.

By doing this, you will become reunited with flow states. The state of flow and uncertainty go hand in hand. When you’re in flow, you stop thinking about the words that are coming out of your mouth and you dig deep inside yourself to bring out those golden nuggets that are linked to your passion.

***Final thought***

After writing this post, I came across a man who is known on the internet as the “30-year-old ninja.” This man was a teacher is the US and decided to give everything up and follow his heart. Since he was a child, he dreamed of becoming a ninja.

In an act that might seem a little crazy, he quit his job, sold his things, and moved to Japan to become a ninja. Through this experience, he looked uncertainty in the face and said: “Screw you, I’m following my heart, and I don’t care where it takes me!”

No longer did this man want to live his boring life and accept that where he had gotten to, was as far down the road to success as he could get. As I watched his ninja classes that are shown in the video, I saw a man who lived with purpose, and you could see the passion in his eyes.

Taking risks and doing things that seem bizarre to your family and friends is the way to live your life. When everyone thinks you’re crazy, then you’re probably somewhere near where you need to be to embrace uncertainty, and live your own hero’s journey into self-discovery and finding your passion.

How are you going to embrace uncertainty? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Ingrid Gamero

    Aug 7, 2017 at 1:31 am

    This was a great, well-written article. Thank you for taking your time to motivate the readers of this website, you have done a wonderful job.

  2. Vanessa

    Oct 18, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Hey Tim

    I was so inspired by your blog post that I mentioned you in a post I did on uncertainty. I had never seen uncertainty as a best friend, but I came to realize through your post how it guides, shields and helps us. It comforts us and in a way we wouldn’t be who we are today without it. I have traveled throughout the years, but at seventeen, nineteen and even twenty I didn’t know what my life was going to be like in a few months or years. I spent days thinking if I would even go to school and when I was at school if my parents would come up with the money for me to finish school. It’s funny how we only realize this the older we get and figure things out. I really enjoyed reading it and about what you went through to learn about your own uncertainty in life. I suppose that’s the only way we grow and evolve as people by figuring out our perceptions are mangled up versions of our thoughts and based on what other people see and feel.

  3. Simon Sprock

    Sep 16, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Great stuff and s important. Especially the topic with the travelling. I do (or did) it myself: Traveling alone, all I have is a flight and a room for the first nights. The rest comes after.

    I think, it is important to leave across the borders from time to time. You need to try new things, do things that provide uncertainty, challenge yourself. Especially people that keep on complaining: If you are not happy with your Status quo: Welcome it, leave your boundaries. Make the life as you want it to be and accept to be happy.

    • Tim Denning

      Sep 28, 2016 at 3:18 am

      Thanks Simon. I love your advice and traveling has had the same effect on me. I recently came back from the USA and it really opened my eyes – especially the homelessness problem in America.

  4. Toño

    Sep 13, 2016 at 4:23 am

    Hello Tim! How’s your Great American journey is going, mate?

    You know, this was amazing! The latest articles of yours have been absolutely beautiful. I really enjoyed the style and your ability to come out of shell and just be you. I felt like I was reading some personal blog about self-discovery, purpose, life and your dreams. Your latest work such ‘How to influence people through not giving an F’, ‘How To Build Unstoppable Confidence To Revolutionize Your Success’ & this about uncertainty just blew my freaking mind! Tim, you are amazing and you most likely have no idea how grateful I am for everything you have done dude!

    You said you have been inspiring like ten people? Well, count me as an eleven on your list. I was filling the survey at my job the other day for some research. There was a question about who motivates you most, and guess who I picked right next to Tony Robbins? Exactly. Tim Denning.

    You may not have many comments on articles like this but I love them most. I just feel you there, I know it’s you who typing the words on your MacBook or whatever the machine you use, I just feel it and enjoy to the very core.

    Those things will go viral one day and yeah, there many who read and listen! I believe it.

    Thank you so very much for passion, that drives you, every day I re-born with new realization how grateful I am for everything I have!

    Have a beautiful day mate, much love on your journey!

    • Tim Denning

      Sep 27, 2016 at 5:03 am

      Toño America was amazing and thanks for asking. Glad to see you have been reading all the posts and finding value – that’s what it’s all about. To be in the same sentence as Tony Robbins is a great compliment and thanks so much for that compliment.

      Speak soon my friend and thanks for reaching out.

  5. Omer

    Sep 11, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Love it! Good stuff mate.

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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.

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These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.

1. Include short breaks

My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.

2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking

Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.

3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule

A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!

These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!

1. Music

This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!

2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery

When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.

3. Love what you do

This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.

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1. Make sure you have fun projects

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2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year

Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.

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