Dealing With The Unknowns In Life

Jan 24, 2011

 
To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
-Buddha

Fear of the unknown has a way of playing with our minds and causing us to become filled with fear, uncertainty, doubt and a build up of stress, but as Buddha is quoted above, this doesn’t have to be the case if we can control our thoughts.

Events that are outside of our control can create a sense of panic and fear of the unknown. The reality is the only thing we truly have control over one hundred percent of the time is how we carry ourselves, how we respond to each situation and how we perceive what is going on.

For example, when driving on a stretch of interstate we’ve never navigated before, one that is full of curves, hills and valleys, we are never quite sure what will be around the next corner, but just as we continue to drive forward to see what is around the bend, we must stride forward in our lives to see what it is we are facing. Only when we know what we are up against can we create a strategy to overcome it.

After all, when we spend time worrying, it is a combination of knowing something is outside of our control and not having the experience or knowledge to be certain of what will occur. But what does worry really achieve? Nothing.

The moment you find yourself worrying about any given situation – a relationship, money, a job, etc. – use it as an indicator to become more educated on what you do not know.  Fearful of losing your job? Start acquiring more and necessary skills that are invaluable. Worried about retirement? Start cutting your spending and looking into how to better invest your money. Not sure you should trust someone? Slow down and get to know them better before you share yourself.

Knowledge and experience is power and immediately eliminates worry and the unknowns. It is true – we will never be able to control or know everything, but we can equip ourselves to the best of our ability by seeking out the necessary resources.

After you are well on the path to gaining as much experience and knowledge as you can, it is now your responsibility to control your thoughts. First and foremost, don’t create more problems. Instead, consistently practice habits that are move you in a positive direction. Second, focus on today and doing your best in the moment.  No matter how mundane the task may be, do your best. Proceed with confidence even if you might be a bit unsure. Arthur Ashe reminds us that appearances have power: 

“Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.”

And most importantly, if you do still have fear inside of you, use it to your benefit and not the other way around:

“A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” –Oscar Wilde

And as long as you are (1) doing your best and (2) working to put yourself in the best position possible with knowledge and learning from past experiences, then you can let go because you are doing all that is within your power.  Ironically, the funny thing is, you will feel more in control when your palm is open expressing confidence than you will when you hold on with desperation.

“Control is never achieved when sought after directly. It is the surprising outcome of letting go.”

-James Arthur Ray

Have a beautiful Monday.

 



22 thoughts on “Dealing With The Unknowns In Life

  1. Very sound advice, this. I tend to lay awake at nights worrying about all kinds of things, and I really need to stop that. It’s one of my lifestyle resolutions for 2011.

  2. Shannon this is a really inspiring article =)
    When I’m having doubts about the future, my work or my relations (and get really petrified about what’s going to happen) I try to convince myself to feel trust (trust myself, trust the ‘energy’ that is floating around and trust that in the end something good will come out of it) and to let go of all the fears and taboos and prejudices that keep my mind a prisoner (thus very afraid).
    That makes me look in the future in a more positive way and, furthermore, to live in the present, which is definitely the key to a blissful living (not easy though!!)
    Have a great day and a beautiful new week!
    xo

  3. Wonderful post Shannon.
    Someone told me that “worry is the interest you pay on a debt that may NOT be yours”. That soon switches my thinking.
    I0m getting better but still have a way to go!

  4. I know people that spend more time worrying about would “could” happen instead of just living life! I try to live my life with as little worrying as possible 🙂

  5. Great post, Shannon. This reminds me of a book that was just given to me by a colleague–Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. I’ve only read through the first chapter–which is all about how humans derive satisfaction from controlling their future.

  6. Hi 🙂

    I have to tell you – you really make my day every time, gorgeous pictures, beautiful and inspiring quotes and always true words of wisdom. <3 <3 <3

    La Kat

  7. So true when you say: “The moment you find yourself worrying about any given situation…use it as an indicator to become more educated on what you don’t know”.
    Last summer I had trouble managing a difficult team. So I bought a managament “bible” (from Peter Drucker) and studied the book. Getting more “educated” on the subject decreased so much of my anxiety and worries. And it gave my so much assurance! I believe in taking the control of oneself is the key.

  8. A lovely post as usual Shannon, you are so wise! I completely agree with what you wrote and always endeavour to live that way. We cannot control anything outside of ourselves, we’ll burn up a lot of energy trying to do so. Confidence and a winning smile are key! 🙂 Knowledge brings confidence.

    Warmly,
    Karla

  9. The Zohar, my personal book of hope and learning about how to become a better human being says “You can’t control what your eyes see but you can and should control your reactions” So I agree with Arthur Ashe’s quote. It’s all about being proactive.

  10. THANK YOU for writing this post! In the last 3 days my husband has been told it’s possible that he might get a job far away from where we currently live. As it’s not a reality yet I’ve tried to remain calm and think of it as a possible adventure. Bottom line, if I have my amazing husband with me, anywhere will be home! Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Meredith – it sounds like you are handling the “What ifs?” very well. Inspiring indeed. 🙂

    Becky – so glad I could help. I hope everything is going well works out better than expected.

    Fidji – “My Dear Delicious Daily Coach” – interesting title – I’m kind of liking it. 🙂

  12. Thank you for this post! My emotions get the best of me often due to trying to have a child. It’s an overwhelming experience but as you pointed out not in my control. In 2012 I’m trying to trust doctors and know that it might take work but at the end of the day I will get a great outcome. All I can do for now is be in the moment!

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