10 Great Ways to Push Past Uncertainty

Each and every day, at some point, I ask myself this:

“Am I sure?”

Am I sure I want to do that?  Am I sure this is the right approach?  Am I sure there’s not a better way?

It’s sensible to question your behaviour. Questioning is healthy. Too much questioning, however, is not.

photo by helgasms!

photo by helgasms!

Many of your actions involve pushing past uncertainty.  Unless it’s a routine or something you’ve already overcome, you cannot be sure.  The push past uncertainty doesn’t bring you to certain, let’s be clear.  The push brings you to a place where you can make your choices without excess fear and a clouded mind.

Here are 10 methods of reaching a clear focus:

  1. Accept that uncertainty isn’t negative. Certainty isn’t always positive. I’m sure you wouldn’t relish an event involving certain death, for instance. Uncertainty is natural, not negative.  It’s better to be uncertain than overconfident because, unlike overconfidence, you can overcome uncertainty.
  2. Stop fearing the worst. By expecting nothing, you kid yourself that even a small gain will be a good result. But reality doesn’t work out this way. Automatic fear of the worst only sets you up toward failure and reduces enthusiasm. Be prepared for all eventualities, but don’t actively expect the worst outcome.
  3. The unexpected will open the mind. Not everything should be planned. So long as it’s not dangerous, it’s good to do something on a whim once in a while.
  4. Go one step further than you usually would. When you reach uncertain territory, a small step outside your comfort zone could be enough to change your attitude. You can step even further next time!
  5. Say yes to what you like the sound of. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But uncertainty can make you turn down stuff you actually want to do. When you’re scared of what might happen, you shield yourself from the fun stuff too. If you wish you had the courage to do something, allow yourself the courage to say yes and do it. Dare yourself to explore the things you want.
  6. Treat the opinions of others as exactly that. People don’t care as much about your actions as you’d think. But still you panic. You are your own worst enemy. It’s easy to obsess over the way a person views what you do and it stops you in your tracks. Truth is, people usually obsess over their own actions, just like you! Ditch the concern and do what feels right for you.
  7. Research more. Literature exists on almost every conceivable topic. When the risk feels too great, read a book on the topic or watch a video about it. Find out more until you have greater conviction and understanding.
  8. Treat your situation as a set of events, not a ‘success’ or a ‘fail’. You’re not in a movie. Fear of failure is enough to get you thinking like a film. The ending will either be happy or sad and you don’t want to risk the latter becoming a reality. Of course, we’re not treated to a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you keep thinking that, you’ll keep fearing failure. There are plenty events and no script. Enjoy improvising!
  9. Visualise yourself taking action. Relax a while and paint a mental picture of a scene in which you step into uncertainty and make your move. Imagine what you would do and how you might feel. Break down those barriers. Much concern may only be due to a block on seeing a future beyond the uncertainty. Your visual image of working beyond that won’t automatically turn into reality, but it will help you to think about the situation and overcome initial blocks.
  10. Keep the rest of your life in check. With too many issues already on your plate, you’re unlikely to see the point in chasing further unpredictable outcomes. The more organised and up to date you are with day-to-day life, the less burdened you will be when coming up against uncertain times.

What uncertainties have you managed to overcome in the past?  How did you make that breakthrough?


  1. I like this a lot – it is a very refreshing approach and strikes a lot of chords with my own work on fear of failure – or atychiphobia to give it its proper name. Experiments on children in the 1960s divided kids into those with high achievement motivation that relished tasks because they expect success and those with a high fear of failure who were more concerned by the consequences of failure and therefore avoided tasks. Psychologists also found this had an enormous impact on our life choices and life chances.

    In my own work I found that such fears are innate – no matter how uplifting the prose from some motivational guru we will not be cured. Yet progress is still possible, we just have to accept that our fears will not go away. They are coming with us so we have to realise they are feeding us false information and navigate around them. Some of your points – such as 7. research more – fit in well with my strategy.

    Please see:

    http://www.how-not-to-fail.com …for further thoughts.

    Thank you.

  2. This is so encouraging and has a lot of valuable points. I’ve found that visualising myself doing something helps that thing become more real for me and enables me to get past the initial worry.

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