Overcome Uncertainty by Figuring Things Out

I was chatting with a family member about something I want to accomplish. They started asking questions about how I was going to do it. “I don’t know,” I repeatedly said. They were puzzled. They couldn’t understand why I was okay not knowing how I was going to accomplish my goal. This intrigued me, so I began asking them questions. I eventually learned that they associate a clear path to a goal with a high likelihood of success. Said differently, if you know what steps to take ahead of time, you’re likely to be successful (if you put in the work).

No clear path means uncertainty, which scares many people. That’s understandable. In my experience, an unclear path can be scary but isn’t insurmountable. If you can figure things out as you go, you drastically improve your probability of success.

I first realized I could figure things out when I was a kid. I tried to convince my parents to let me do some hairbrained side hustle. They reluctantly agreed, to my surprise. That’s when I realized I had to figure out a lot of stuff to make the side hustle work. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. Eventually, I figured it out by talking to people and doing research. There were some bumps along the way. But to my parents’ and my surprise, it worked out. I made some money and learned how to figure things out.

The ability to figure things out is key to dealing with uncertainty. If it isn’t a skill you were born with, it can be learned. All you need to do is practice by . . . trying to figure something out.