In an article about his book, Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently, Beau Lotto gives an analogy about being uncertain that resonates with me. Why is it we can walk through a forest in the daytime, enjoying the beauty of our surroundings using our senses, being mindful and connecting to the environment? Yet, if we take the same walk in the middle of the night, we can imagine all sorts of terrors, experience anxieties, and fear the unknown because we can’t see what is out there. It’s still the same forest.
Uncertainty can feel like that and most of us hate it. No surprise then that being uncertain can feel more like exploring in the dark when searching for a job or career, hanging on to an unfulfilling one or changing direction. What helps to enlighten our experience?
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challeged to change ourselves. Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor
The shelf-life of what you know and what you can do today is getting shorter. The way things have been done in the past won’t be fit for the future. Consequently, the faster the changes that affect you, the faster you have to learn, unlearn or relearn. Living with uncertainty and ambiguity is becoming a core mind and skill set. You can choose to do nothing and the world changes around you. Alternatively, you can embrace what is within your control to forge the life you want to lead.
Skills for uncertain times
Here’s an insightful and uplifting video outlining 5 increasingly helpful skills that will light up your forest even in the dark:
The illusion of certainty
Beware the illusion of certainty. We tell ourselves all kind of career myth stories for self-protection. We fear the truth will hurt if the wall we build to protect ourselves comes crumbling down. Those walls can be personal myths about what you can and can’t do, what you are willing or unwilling to do. Many have faulty assumptions. Do any of these ring bells with you?
- Other people are better than me. I am not good enough.
- I’m too old and out of date or too young and inexperienced.
- There are no jobs for people like me.
- I can’t change or learn something new because…
What would be your own truths if you replaced them with what you really know to be true? How would you feel then? Make your own judgements and create your own truths to liberate yourself and create your own certainties.
Are you excited, daunted or both by the possibilities and challenges in uncertain times?
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David Shindler is founder of the Employability Hub online learning centre, Director of Learning to Leap and widely respected in the industry as an employability expert. David understands the ‘soft’ skills, attitudes and behaviours needed by employers and can help people improve them to get the job they want.