Change is the only constant. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said those words several millennia ago, but in the 21st century, they are more relevant than ever.
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We live in a world of rapid technological progress, global uncertainty, and immense societal changes. In simple terms, our world evolves at an unprecedented pace.
In the face of those changes, many people are afraid.
We fear that our comfy office job might not exist a decade from now. Our city’s stable economy could fall victim to globalization. And all of our conservative investments might become worthless.
There are more variables than constants, and this creates a lot of doubts in our heads.
Should I try my luck as an entrepreneur? Should I move overseas and become a nomad? And most importantly, how do I make critical decisions in such an uncertain climate?
How to stop being afraid of change and uncertainty
Fear and doubts are natural parts of our thinking, but we have to deal with them.
The consequence of uncertainty cannot be apathy, which is why we need to thrive in the face of change. In other words, we need to act when the seas get rough.
On this basis, here are six powerful ways to stop being afraid of change and uncertainty.
Accept the inevitability of change and uncertainty
The first step toward becoming better at dealing with uncertainty is to accept its omnipresence.
In the last two years, the media bombarded us with content on how the “world will change permanently” and how we’ll alter our habits forever.
However, most of these articles fail to acknowledge that there was never a time in human history without change. Every generation lived through its own changes. Some periods were more revolutionary than others, but change has always been happening.
In the 80s, people said that the Chernobyl accident would forever change our views on energy. In the 90s, the fall of the Soviet Union created a new world order. And in the 2000s, the internet heralded a new industrial revolution.
As individuals, we need to accept that the world will never be the same. Your life will be different ten years from now, no matter who you are and what you do. And once you internalize that fact, you’ll become better at dealing with the uncertainty that will come your way.
Focus on what you’re facing right now
Because we don’t know what will happen in the future, we need to direct our energy toward what we can influence today.
We all have doubts, anxieties, and fears. Nevertheless, we cannot waste our energy on considering every single potentiality.
“We all feel anxiety, worry, doubt, stress. From kids to kings, soldiers to stay-at-home parents, we all feel it sharply in moments big and small. Does this anxiety help us? Cataloging all the dangers and problems? Letting our fear loom large? No!”
He continues with a call to action to focus on what’s in front of you:
“What’s here. Not everything else that may or may not someday be related to it.”
Consequently, stop worrying about the all-encompassing problems that you might face in the future. Direct your energy toward what you have to do today.
What small habits will make today successful? How can you advance toward your long-term goals?
Once you start focusing on the small things that you have to do today, you’ll stop fearing all the uncertainty that the coming weeks, months, or years might bring.
Gradually build resilience
The next step toward reducing your fear of the unknown is to embark on a resilience-building journey.
According to Everyday Health, resilience is “your ability to withstand adversity and bounce back and grow despite life’s downturns.”
Resilience is a superpower against fear as it will help you thrive in the face of adversity. As such, a resilient mind will help you deal with challenging situations and make you less afraid of an uncertain future.
So, how do we become more resilient?
Nothing happens overnight. It’s all about progressively building a mental fortress.
In this context, challenges are an excellent way to become more resilient. Try out a new fitness program. Go solo traveling. Do a bit of job-hopping. The point is to take on uncomfortable situations and confront your fears.
The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the more resilient you’ll become. And this increased resilience will help you become better at dealing with change and uncertainty in life.
Stop living in what-ifs
People who are afraid of change usually spend a lot of time thinking about uncertain consequences.
I can’t talk to that girl at the bar. What if she rejects me? It’s impossible to quit my job. What if I don’t find a new one within the next month? And I would never move to a different country. What if I can’t deal with the cultural differences?
The simple truth is that living in what-ifs will lead to fear of action, and by extension, inaction.
If you’re trying something new in your life, the consequences will be uncertain by definition.
As such, if you want to move forward and be less afraid, you need to accept that risk is part of it. Nothing is 100% safe, and you’ll never be able to predict the full consequences of your actions.
Commit to larger projects in life
One of the most powerful ways to stop being afraid is to connect your actions to a bigger purpose.
Whether it’s building a long-term business, having a prosperous family life, or contributing to social projects, having a genuine purpose is an effective weapon against fear.
Why? Because once your actions are part of a larger purpose, you stop worrying about every single short-term hurdle. You start to realize that every project will have bumps along the way and that these obstacles do not warrant being afraid.
In the first two years of building my freelance business, I had a lot of months in which I didn’t reach my income goals. My revenue wasn’t financing my lifestyle, and I knew that this wasn’t sustainable in the long run.
All of my actions and mistakes, however, were part of a long-term strategy. As such, I realized that having bad months was inevitable and that they couldn’t be an excuse to give up. Without clear long-term plans, these months might have broken me, and I might not have continued.
Strengthen your armor against fear
Finally, we all have shields, and we need to take care of those.
In this regard, self-care is a primary aspect of being less afraid of uncertainty.
Whether it’s your physical health, your mental wellbeing, or your social life, nurture your armor.
In the words of Fast Company,
“Possibly the best tool for coping with uncertainty is making sure that you have an active and meaningful social life. Loneliness fundamentally undermines a person’s sense of safety and makes it very hard to deal with the unpredictable nature of life.”
To conclude, find out what your armor against the fear of uncertainty is, and strengthen it.
This article was originally posted on Medium
Useful links on How to Stop Being Afraid of Change and Uncertainty
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