Uncertainty is an inevitable part of life. Whether it’s our professional situation, our personal lives, or the general state of the world, there will always be answerless moments. We can’t control everything, and we need ways to cope with uncertainty. A minimalist approach can work wonders in this regard. By focusing our energy, attention, and efforts on the essential, we learn how to face uncertainty with poise and serenity. On this basis, here are 7 minimalist ways to deal with uncertainty in your life.
Anxiety is generally the result of a lack of information. We don’t have enough information about the future, and we fail to comprehend the potential ramifications of today’s decisions.
If I decide to end this relationship today, will I ever find a better partner? The economy is in tatters, and I lost my well-paid job. Will I ever get a similar one? And I’ve decided to invest in a passion project. Will that project secure my dream future, or will it be a waste of time?
No matter how astute our risk calculations are, there will always be a certain degree of uncertainty in our lives. Some happenings are beyond our control, and many decisions have unforeseeable consequences.
Only one aspect remains in our sphere of influence: how we deal with uncertainty.
The most effective minimalist ways to deal with uncertainty
Minimalism can help you handle uncertainty by directing your energy toward the areas you can influence. The following are some of the most powerful minimalist ways to deal with uncertainty.
Build your daily routine around essential habits
When decisions and external factors spawn uncertainty, you need to counteract with stability.
In this context, we can take inspiration from ancient Japanese pagodas.
These structures were built centuries ago and stood through earthquakes, typhoons, and many other natural catastrophes. The secret to their sturdiness is a central pillar called the “shinbashira.” The beam acts as a spine and bends when an earthquake hits. As such, the shinbashira absorbs vibrations and leaves the rest of the building unscathed.
Consequently, to remain calm and determined during periods of turmoil, you need a figurative shinbashira.
How do we create our stabilizing force?
The best way to build this pillar is to identify essential daily habits that make you feel secure, comfortable, and productive.
If you have a well-established morning routine, implement it like gospel. If daily workouts secure your physical wellbeing, don’t change your gym routine. And if certain types of entertainment stimulate your humor and happiness, indulge in them.
The main point is to offset a general feeling of uncertainty with counterpoising mechanisms. When your world starts to crumble, stabilize it with multiple, small acts of stability. Together, these habits will form your life’s shinbashira.
Identify unproductive worries and mute them
After securing the presence of stabilizing, productive habits, you need to cut out unproductive worries. If your uncertainty comes entirely from external circumstances, it’s time to limit information streams.
Stop watching the news. Minimize your social media usage. Go on a digital detox if you have to. And finally, don’t surround yourself with negative people who stir up your uncertainty. Find positive peers who further your life’s stability.
Slow your life down
When your world oozes uncertainty, it’s time to slow down, take a step back, and become mindful of your choices.
Meditate daily. Write down your fears, hopes, and projects in a journal. Reduce the number of items on your to-do list. And most importantly, base your actions on your priorities, not other people’s values.
In times of stress and anxiety, the best way to find balance is to focus on what matters most and act accordingly. Take your foot off the gas and find the pace that will help you regain control over your life.
Focus on long-term projects, not temporary distractions
Much like essential daily habits, long-term projects represent a sense of stability in uncertain times.
A few years ago, I had to deal with family issues. During that time, I enrolled in a photography course.
Photography had always been a passion of mine, and I wanted to turn that leisure activity into a profitable side hustle. I had a long-term vision of building a vast stock portfolio that would guarantee sales over time.
When my world looked bleak, the vision became a motivating force with long-term objectives ensuring stability. Fast forward a few years, and my stock portfolio contains thousands of images, many of which were taken in times of great uncertainty.
Find a long-term project that will keep you going in uncertain times. It can be creative, professional, or social. The crucial point is that it will safeguard your mental drive over long stretches.
When times are dark, gratitude can become a lifesaver.
Gratitude is a powerful antidote against anxiety because it focuses on tangible positivity, not intangible negativity. No matter where you are right now, you’ll always find something to be thankful for. Find a silver lining and be thankful for it.
If you can’t leave the house, be thankful for more reading time. If you’re not doing well financially, be thankful for the support of loved ones. And if you don’t know where your career is going, be thankful for the options you have.
Feast on humor
Akin to gratitude, humor can become a weapon against anxiety.
In this context, Sigmund Freud highlighted the power of humor as a defense mechanism against adversity. Many other scientists and philosophers support this concept.
Consequently, when you feel overwhelmed by uncertainty, don’t lose your humor.
Use a minimalist, priority-driven approach and ask yourself whether humor, sadness, or bitterness should prevail in your mind. If your priority is to cope better with uncertainty, humor will probably come out on top.
Accept inevitable uncertainty
Finally, acceptance is another major part of dealing with uncertainty.
No matter if you’re building a business, preparing for a degree, or taking on novel family commitments, there will always be an element of uncertainty.
Once you accept this unavoidable slice of uncertainty, you’ll free your thoughts and give them space to breathe. The act will, in turn, enable you to take a proactive approach and fixate your mind on what you can control.
Useful links on 7 Minimalist Ways to Deal With Uncertainty in Your Life
- more in the section “Life”
- read 7 Minimalist Ways to Regain Control Over Your Life
- more under the topic “Mindfulness”
- read 6 Mindful Ways to Slow Your Life Down
Don’t miss a beat!
Jack Krier is a writer, photographer, and full-time globetrotter. Thanks to minimalism, he built his ideal lifestyle around travel and online entrepreneurship, becoming a digital nomad in the process. On Minimalist Focus, he shares his ideas on minimalism and lifestyle design, helping thousands of readers improve their lives by focusing on the essentials.