I used to think there was a formula for life. Do X and Y happens. Being the Type A person that I am…or used to be, I believed that if you worked hard, you’ll succeed. That was it. And while this is still true to some extent, what forced me down a spiraling path of anxiety and stress was a strong sense of uncertainty in my job, career and increasingly in life.
From the economy to the job market to all the negative sentiments being talked about in the supermarket to the stock market. There is a feeling of uneasiness that I couldn’t help ignore.
So, I froze. Paralyzed by the problem of trying to predict an uncertain career, I was stuck and couldn’t figure out which way to move forward in my life and in my job.
Then something great happened and I took an unexpected trip with a friend to India and it changed my life forever. I was quite familiar with the country of a billion people but had a different lens as I found uncertainty everywhere.
Since that trip and over the last few years, I have been learning about how to deal with uncertainty in my life and in my career and have made remarkable progress towards adapting to this “new normal” by fully learning embrace the chaos!
In my journey, one of the most important lessons I learned is that I just HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD and TAKE ACTION.
Here are 4 Reasons to Take Action…Any Action Right Now:
1. There will NEVER be a perfect time.
Perfection is an illusion created by our mind to bring order where none exists. There will never, ever be the perfect time, the perfect circumstances, perfect job, perfect partner, friend or perfect moment. Life is imperfect and the world is beautifully flawed. I always used to think that I’ll jump in the game and change careers when my wife’s business takes off or when I’m presented with the right opportunity. But you just can’t predict WHEN that moment will happen. And so you do nothing. And doing nothing makes you feel helpless to the chaos out there causing greater tension and stress. By accepting the fact that life is imperfect and that there is no perfect time, it helped spur me to…jump in. As a result, we started my wife’s business in the midst of the economic meltdown in Oct. 2008 and I started pursuing a new project at work that has helped me grow
2. You can’t predict the future.
I used to over analyze, over think, over plan and try really hard to figure out how things will turn out BEFORE I moved forward with anything. But I realized that I was wrong more often that I was right. When you’re feeling trapped in a world of uncertainty, you feel as though you have no viable choices ahead on your path so you find yourself looking at the problem 10 different ways. And you pour over pros/cons that you’ve written up for taking a certain action. You ask tons of people for advice. But it gets you nowhere except more stress and anxiety because no one has a crystal ball for what the future will look like.
In my own journey, what I realized is that I’m really not that smart as to be able to make any future predictions legitimate. So why not move forward with something I want to do anyway? Who really knows if my business idea will be a success or a failure? Who really knows? I’ve got just as good a shot at being a success in this crazy world full of chaos and randomness, as anyone else. As long as I believe in it, that’s the future I’m willing to be on…my belief.
3. One thing always leads to another
“What’s the point”, “Where will that get you?” “You’ll never make as much money doing that” are typical comments that you often hear when you share your pursuit of a dream with someone. And it can be discouraging…ok…it really can be downright depressing. But what I have increasingly realized is that in life, you cannot anticipate the consequences of even the smallest of steps forward. There are way too many variables to know the circumstances you’ll be in, following a step forward.
And so often, one step leads you to another unlikely, undiscovered thought or idea which leads you to another idea or a meeting, which leads you to a breakthrough in your life or your business. Think about how often randomness happens when you are out there trying something. A phone call from someone you met a while ago, a surprising email from a customer or a facebook request from an old friend or simply a smile that you get from someone you just met. Sometimes that initial step is all what is required to set in motion a whole new timeline of events being created to give you just the boost you need.
4. You feel better about life, almost immediately
The fundamental problem of trying to manage uncertainty in life is that often inaction breeds anxiety. You feel like you have no control over the chaos of life. And that inaction becomes a spiral of stress, tension and anxiety. Even the smallest steps forward have made me feel better almost immediately because a little bit of the uncertainty starts to fade and give way to a little more clarity of the path ahead. Being able to see the path, however blurry is better than not seeing the path at all…because you’ll be on your way somewhere…on the journey. And you’ll get closer to real knowing. Taking action makes you feel better almost immediately also because you start feeling like you have control of your life.
In my own personal journey of learning to live with uncertainty, I have realized that action, however small not only makes me feel better about life but actually helps to put me in a place that I never thought possible…and in these days of uncertainty, possibilities are we are all after…isn’t it?
Bob Miglani: Embrace the Chaos.com