Tag Archives: Uncertainty

Meaning, uncertainty, and worry

When you do things that you know the outcome of, there’s no reason to worry. You already know that you’ll achieve the outcome.

Worry sets in when you pursue something with an uncertain outcome. The greater the uncertainty of the outcome, the greater the worry.

Looking at things this way, doing things with relatively certain outcomes is an easy way to avoid worry.

However, those things with relatively certain outcomes also tend to be less meaningful. Those things that are worth doing tend to have uncertain outcomes.

So the choice is between doing meaningful things with uncertain outcomes and hence worry, and less meaningful things with relatively certain outcomes and low worry.

There’s room for both. However, most of us naturally gravitate towards the latter in order to minimize worry. Reminding ourselves that the former produce worry for a good reason helps us do more of these things.

The best person to take on the opportunity

If something is a good idea, someone is going to do it. Someone is going to capture the opportunity.

You might feel uncertain about whether you’re ready for the task. But everyone feels the same way.

Some will back down because of the uncertainty, and others will pursue the opportunity. And among those that pursue the opportunity, in the long run the best person will have the greatest positive impact. Sometimes our lives are too short to see the long run play out, but it does exist.

The question is therefore not whether you’re ready for the task. No one is. Everyone makes it up and learns as they go along.

The question is whether you’d produce better results than others if you were to take on the same opportunity. If so, you have a responsibility to do so, not just for yourself but, more importantly, for the group of humans that the opportunity impacts.

People shape the future

On the morning of November 10, I shared my thoughts about Donald Trump’s election as president of the US.

That same morning, 78 years ago in 1938, was the day when Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, passed away.

Turkey has experienced a tough 2016 so far. In particular, the July 15 coup attempt was an unwelcome development that Turkey is fortunate to have avoided.

Similarly, many in the US feel that Trump’s presidency is an unwelcome development. I understand their concerns but, for the reasons I shared in my post, I don’t have the same fears.

There will always be struggle and there will always be uncertainty. The struggles of Turkey to rebuild following the coup attempt and the uncertainty which the country continues to face, and the struggles of the US during a polarized campaign season and the uncertainty which the country faces now that the election results are in, are just two examples.

But amid the struggles and the uncertainty, there is one certainty. And that is that people shape the future. Just like Ataturk shaped that of Turkey.