Coping with uncertainty

Uncertainty is where things happen. It is where the opportunities for success, for happiness, for really living are waiting.

Martha Nussbaum

The time to live quietly, without changes and having everything under control at all times, is over. Today we live in a society in which over 500 million daily tweets are published, more than 300 million uploaded photos to Facebook every day and over 300 hours of video to YouTube every minute. There is a lot of new information, and it comes to us very quickly.

Such rapid change doesn't mean you can't live peacefully, but in order to accomplish it, now you have to learn to accept and embrace all the uncertainty that surrounds you. At this time of the year, change of preferences for university students leads the pack for uncertainty.

The situations in which you do not have all the information, or information is imperfect, generate stress because there is always the possibility they lead to an undesired result. But, since these kind of uncertain situations are now the standard (and that is the only thing that will not change), you should improve your ability to adapt to their demands. Here are some tips for dealing with uncertainty:

Clarify your goals and objectives. Take the time to define what is really important to you and what is optional. Clarity provides direction and also allows you to be calm about things you're not doing.

Create a map. If you know where you are, where are you heading, you can go wherever you want to go and make a detour if something unexpected arises in your path.

Go towards uncertainty. The best way to overcome fear of the unknown is to act. Take the first step and you'll see that the limits of the unknown become narrower.

Focus on what you can control in the short term. There are many things you can do, so do not obsess over what might happen or you will be foolishly paralysed.

Be open to surprises. They occur anyway, so better be prepared for anything. Be positive, surprises will allow you to learn and experience different things.

Accept the risks. When there is uncertainty, there are risks. You must learn to minimise them and accept those that you cannot eliminate.

Be curious. Observe, read, question, learn, do not take anything for granted.

Be brave. As Mark Twain said the secret of getting ahead is getting started.