Certainty and Uncertainty

I first heard of this idea from Anthony Robbins when he mentioned in a talk that certainty and uncertainty are two of our fundamental needs. So let’s take a look at these today.

We all have a need for certainty in our life. We need to feel a degree of confirmation of our place in the world and feel that we are living in an environment that is both safe and predictable.

This feeling grounds us to the earth. It is a sense of comfort and safety and of knowing that our basic needs are been met. The base of Maslow’s famous pyramid comes to mind when I think of this notion. We need food, shelter and a firm grounding before we can move forward. We want to know that our friends won’t betray us and that our laws will protect us. We also want to be pretty certain that our banks won’t rip us off and our savings are secure. We want to know we have a roof over our heads, that our loved ones won’t leave us and that things will remain the same. So we do the same routines over and over and let our dreams recede into the past and we play it safe in every area of our lives so we never have to experience failure and rejection.

In my work as a hypnotherapist I see many clients who have anxieties and fears and these almost always prevent some form of activity that needs to be undertaken, the need to move forward and progress in some area of their lives.
When the feeling of a need for certainty is so strong it can prevent the growth, development and the sheer joy in life.

Certainty on its own can be a form of stagnation and can be responsible for conformity, lack of will and a shrinking self-esteem. People want to remain certain of their lives so much that they feel the danger of stepping out of their comfort zone. In fact to have a life of absolute certainty would be boredom of the highest order. Imagine knowing how your everyday would play out, how everybody you met would react and the outcome of every action you undertook?

To experience uncertainty is the thrill of the unknown. It is taking a chance in whatever area of your life that may be. Your talk may go down well or it may not. Your new business venture may succeed or fail. That special someone may reject you when you ask for a date. You can’t predict with absolute certainty how an investment will work out, it may be a loss or it may bring a a huge return. That is uncertainty.

Another way of expressing uncertainty is the risk’s we undertake. We are all involved in managing risks daily but if we tried to avoid them altogether life would be a pretty meaningless and shallow experience.

So paradoxically we have an emotional need for both certainty and uncertainty to feel that we are both grounded and moving forward. Do you have a need to strengthen your security or do you have a need to step out of your safety net and fly into the unknown? How you consistently answer these questions on a daily basis will determine the experiences you undergo and the life you live.