Today the country makes another decision about it’s future, and as you are reading this we don’t know what the outcome of that will be. However, I’m wondering how does that makes you feel? We only have to turn on the tv, flick through social media or listen to the radio to be bombarded by messages that tell us how uncertain our future is, how gloomy it may be, what effect it is going to have on us and our families. I’ve spoken to many over the past few weeks who are anxious and worried about how the future is going to be and are actively planning how they will respond.
As humans it seems that we love to predict the future, we have a need to know that we will be ok, that we are still in control, that nothing really will change.
But can we really make that prediction? Do we really know what the future holds?
Everyday people’s lives change in a heartbeat, often an event or situation that they had no control over at all. They woke up, had their breakfast, said goodbye to their families, and then their lives changed. Something that they never could have predicted, from accidents to illnesses, redundancies to divorce, our lives change moment to moment, they are constantly changing. Only too recently have we seen this in the tragic events in Manchester and London. In this respect life can seem scary, uncertain and full of risk, risk that as human beings who predominately want to be safe, don’t want to take. Many of the people that I coach feel unable to take the next step or live the life they would love to live because they restrict themselves with ‘but what if….’ and then scare themselves about all the things that could go wrong, which is entirely understandable because all we have to predict the future is our past experience and that of other peoples – but how accurate can this really be when predicting our own future?
My rudimentary understanding of why use our past experience is to keep us safe, so that we remember that knives are sharp, fire burns and so on and so forth. It’s less useful when it comes to predicting whether a new job is the right move, our partner will never change or we are all doomed if a certain party is elected or reelected. Because of course the future hasn’t happened yet and just because something has happened in the past or to someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to happen to us or in the way it has before. In essence it’s a story. Often a scary, realistic, believable one but a story nonetheless, something that our thinking is making up to help us believe that we do know what the future holds, when of course we don’t, so we can plan in advance what to do, to be prepared! But how many times are our worse fears not realised? I wonder how many hours wasted worrying about stuff that never came to pass? Plans never actioned because they weren’t needed? I often wonder just how much energy is taken up by the stories we create about our future and what would happen if instead we directed that energy into our now? What could we achieve? What would we do? For me the more uncertain my life is the more certain I become, because all I know for sure is that in this moment I am absolutely ok, that fear is not my best advisor, the future will take care of itself and no amount of my thinking will change it.