UNCERTAINTY

Let go of the old, embrace the new

See the possibility in uncertainty.

In Summary
  • It is a blank slate on which you can write a new story of your life.
  • The first step is to let go of what was and be open to what will be.
Pastor Gladys Maloba of the Nabii Christian Church of East Africa (NCCEA) stands outside her door after the Palm Sunday service, after the government banned religious gatherings amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease at the Kibera slum in Nairobi on April 5, 2020.
Pastor Gladys Maloba of the Nabii Christian Church of East Africa (NCCEA) stands outside her door after the Palm Sunday service, after the government banned religious gatherings amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease at the Kibera slum in Nairobi on April 5, 2020.
Image: REUTERS

As the coronavirus pandemic runs rampant like the hounds of hell, ravaging and tearing apart lives, economies, healthcare systems, education and everything else across the world, predictions of doom and gloom and projections of the worst yet to come are rife.

Apocalyptic headlines globally stick out with experts lining up every day to tell us how bad things are going to get, coming out with worse and worse forecasts of looming disaster.

All this gloom and doom in the air has people wondering, and experts guesstimating, when things will return to normal. Will they though?

No one really knows how long this pandemic will last and how much will change in that duration, so it’s not improbable that things might never go back to normal. Maybe it’s time we start thinking less about a restart button when coronavirus leaves and more about the reset button.

Understandably, reset sounds scarier than restart but think about Easter. It is a remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ and a celebration of his resurrection. The significance of this, the message of Easter during these difficult, potentially life-altering times, is it speaks to a dying of the old, and rebirth as new. It is what in modern terms we refer to as reinvention – which is what we might be forced to do after coronavirus.

The words new and reinvention might not sit well with some, as they spell uncertainty. But uncertainty is not as difficult to deal with as many of us imagine, if you know how.

The first step is to let go of what was and be open to what will be. If you’ve always believed ‘I should never be uncertain’ or ‘everything must always stay the same’, replace these beliefs with something a little more open-minded like ‘uncertainty is less than ideal, but it is acceptable and tolerable.’

Second step is to envision the best, not the worst. According to research, people tend to overestimate the risks and terrors that may result from a situation. This leads to anxiety from worrying about the worst that can happen, which in turn can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. A better course of action is to pack away the worst-case scenario and instead imagine the best possible scenario. That way, you’ll be calmer, clearer and confident about where you’re headed.

Step three is to remember you’ve faced uncertainty before. You can do it again.

The psychological concept of ‘hindsight bias’ says we tend to create the illusion that everything we did in our past was certain before we did it, when in reality, almost nothing is certain before you’ve actually done it. Uncertainty and life come as a package deal and it has always managed to sort itself out.

And finally, see the possibility in uncertainty. It is a blank slate on which you can write a new story of your life. It is like standing on the threshold of endless possibility, but you have to choose to see it that way.

Will the world as we know it come to an end? I don’t know. But even if it does, think of it as a beginning, not an end.

Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out – John Wooden.