Excel in Uncertainty

There you are waiting. Maybe it’s seven years from now. Maybe it’s seventeen. But I see you clearly struggling with the lack of clarity. Your parents will have taught you well, loved you well, supported you well: that won’t be the issue.

No, the procrastination is the natural result of unavoidable uncertainty inherent to the human experience. Path A will look preferable on certain days … only to be supplanted – in your mind – by Path B on different days. Around and around your mind will spin with such relentless force you’ll sometimes wish someone else would just decide for you – a free man pleading for less freedom.

I implore you to pause in moments like this and consider your parents. Just look at this house! Their jobs! Their vast networks of friends! Everything is so idyllic! Sure, absorbing those outcomes may lead to the conclusion that your parents followed a simple blueprint devoid of the endless machinations currently racking your mind. Yet it is the wrong conclusion, for your parents were extended stay tenants in the land of uncertainty. Most people make a decision and are awarded a long period of tranquil certainty; your parents, on the other hand, earned their “extended stay” status because their decisions were so often abruptly followed by ever more uncertainty. Which could turn someone cold, or paralyze him, or make him feel justified to constantly complain, could fill him with rage and jealousy. Not your parents. No way.

See, they must have known, deep in their bones, that uncertainty is the norm. They might not have always liked it, may have fought it, but they knew that easy decisions rarely exist. Crucially, they understood it’s less about complete solutions and more about tradeoffs, and that the best lives are lived by those who can simply decide and move forward. Adroit decision-making is not about extra planning or information. Rather, it comes from possessing the self-confidence to believe that no matter what outcome ensues, you’ll be able to figure it out and make the best given what you now know. Perform this exercise again and again, and you’ll become a leader who is able to reach for some of life’s finest fruits. Just like your parents.

Or like Ender and Bean, the co-protagonists of the book currently resting in your hands. Ender and Bean are so unmatched in dealing with uncertainty that I believe there is no fictional human character who could best them. See if you agree.

Have a great life!