Embrace Uncertainty

In Schrödinger’s famous torture chamber, thought experiment he puts a cat in a box whose life hangs in the balance of a single radioactive isotope which might, or might not kill the cat. The idea being that the cat is both alive & dead until the situation is observed from the outside, thereby resolving the two possibilities into a single certainty.

Life

Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Answers feel so much better than questions.

(Want proof? Watch any child and see how excited they get when they recognize a character they like on TV.)

We all need certainty in our lives. For example, we need to know that the ground we’re walking on won’t collapse under us.

But there needs to be balance.

If you’re solely focused on certainty, you’ll tend to stay too far in your safe zone.

“Better the devil you know than the one you don’t.” ~Folk wisdom using scare tactics to advocate for the status quo

If you have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what’s going to happen when you do it, then you’re probably not going to get outside your current frame of reference. Guess where all your growth happens, though; stepping outside your comfort zone!

In my own life, I’ve missed out on more opportunities than not because I was more interested in what something is than what it could be.

Of all my superhuman talents, I’d have to say building an extremely high tolerance for uncertainty is one of my most valuable.

Here’s why.

Context

Every time I’ve worked on a TV project, there’s a ton of uncertainty.

What do the producers want to see? How many people will be in the audience? Will I be able to set my own props? Am I supposed to look at the camera during filming? Will I get paid? When will I get paid? When will it air? Will it air at all?

It can be exhausting never getting a firm answer to any of these questions.

But I know the answer I don’t want.

“Thanks for your time, but we’re going in another direction.”

That answer is certain. It’s definitive.

There’s no going back.

The more comfortable you are with the extremely uncomfortable dynamic of not knowing the answers, the farther into the process you’ll get. You’ll learn a lot more from the experience of enduring the situation than you will trying to nail down exactly what it all means.

Takeaway

Embrace uncertainty.

Let a couple unanswered questions into your life, and you’ll instantly increase the number of opportunities you have available to you.

Posted by Jonathan Pritchard

For the past 20 years Jonathan has been a professional mentalist. He's toured the world, entertained the troops stationed overseas, & amazed audiences on TV. He realized the same psychological techniques he uses on stage are exactly the same he uses in his own business to create an incredible life. Companies & clients hire his coaching services to get a mind reader's thoughts on problem solving, networking, relationship building, and any other dynamic where people are involved. When not on the road, he gets his mail in Chicago, and you can find him practicing kung fu every morning.