How to Combat Certainty in 5 No-so-Easy Steps

Certainty lays itself at our footsteps, across our thresh hold, in our email inbox and crams itself tightly into our heads. It robs us of creativity because ‘ a conclusion reached becomes a conclusion held.’ We conduct pseudo-experiments, gather strings of garble data, and hearken back to the theories of great scholars without so much a howdy do. The research confirms a suspicion and aligns with a desire and so it becomes a premise and then a fact. We continue to measure it and make it sacred. It can never be questioned, doubted or checked for its current relativity. Charging down the path towards an expectation, the certain choices lead to a specific and potentially altogether wrong destination. The surprise we feel when the findings, response or sales are chalked up to something else. We must have misread the data. The focus group was biased. The communication collateral wasn’t clear. But we never stop to consider the certainty that took us down the yellow brick road to Utopia. That certainty must be forever true. We need a manifesto of destruction and adaptation to lean comfortably into uncertainty but for the time being here are five steps to make your certainty intentionally uncomfortable.

1 Reframe. Begin with rattling reframing questions. ” If x isn’t entirely accurate, what might I observe?” ” When I am sure of my position, what might I be missing?” ” If I am not curious enough to see a different perspective, why do I expect different results?” Keep asking yourself challenging big picture questions so that you can concede that there may be another valid point of view, opinion or approach.

2 Reflect. I pause and wonder, where did this surety come from? Is my unshakeable belief based on bias, indoctrination, ‘education’ desire? Why am I afraid, uneasy, resentful that there could be many possible approaches? As I swim in the reflection, I learn more about myself that about any rigidity that I am harboring.

3 Refrain. It is a bit ironic that refrain can mean both ” a regularly occurring phrase” and ” to stop oneself from doing something.” This step is a bit of both. On occasion, when you hear yourself tugging on the same threads that you have pulled for years, I compel you to stop unraveling the tapestry and in just this one instance don’t go down the familiar path. Become a tourist who curiously explores a new journey and records your observations.

4 Remove. Take yourself out of the mix, when your certainty turns into intimidation and bullying. When you dig in your heels and because a tightly held ‘value’ is being challenged and you rise to a defensive or aggressive posture – remove yourself from the situation and repeat the first three steps.

5 Release. Release the tension of trying to hold onto the unknowable. Feel the stress drain away when you allow the edge of uncertainty to overlap with your defensive position. Relish the relaxation of curiosity and allow yourself to be renewed by unimagined possibilities.

Make today, and next year, remarkable,

B

 

Complacency

If I take my relationships for granted (certainty) am I dooming them to the trash heap? I often am asked for marital advice and the only thing I can offer is ” that we work hard every day so we can live happily ever after”. It doesn’t happen organically or by accident. We need to intentionally focus on the needs of the other and how our actions create consequences for them. We make mistakes and take missteps and sometimes seemingly stop caring but quickly recognise the disruption and consciously make an effort to serve the relationship’s needs. I can’t offer suggestions as to what that would look like for you because each couple is unique and their requirements are unique.

It may look like spending time together – not just in the same space but sharing an experience together (probably not TV or a movie). Maybe it requires a small token; a gift of a special meal, a poem, a small significant personal item. It may mean that one or both need to share their deep affection for each other – maybe many times a day. Saying “I love you” with passion and sincerity can start a different trajectory. Follow the new direction and see where it takes you. Maybe someone needs to say ” I’m sorry. I didn’t think about how my words or actions might be heard or seen” I obviously need to say it more often because I can be blinded by my own stuff and oblivious to others.

The above paragraph isn’t meant to suggest that there is a quick fix. It is a continuous learning experience and like life a generative dynamic process. What was important 2 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 minutes ago might not have the same urgency tomorrow. Continuing to work and talk about the work, especially if that is counter to your tendencies doesn’t ensure success but not working and discussing significantly reduces the likelihood of the happily ever after fairy tale.

While I am not trying to convince you or unconvince you of anything, I contend that the most significant relationship in your life should be the highest priority in your life. Don’t wait until you are financially secure, established in your career, or less busy with children to make a loving commitment to each other, today. When your time on the planet comes to an end you won’t think ” I wish I had spent more time at work, running madly in all directions, piling up more stuff” You might feel ” I should have spent more time and energy with my partner” and you would probably be right.

Make Today Remarkable by saying yes to your relationship,
B