when uncertainty and uncertainty of self collide (1900th post)

uncertainty-high-wire

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“Uncertainty is a bitch.”

 

Anonymous

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 “it is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

 

Charles Darwin

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enlightened conflict thinkOn November 18th 2009 … 1,899 posts ago … I wrote these words:

 

 

Welcome to Enlightened Conflict.

 

 

It was my 1st post. I suggested the site would do 3 things for readers:

 

  • make you think

 

  • beautiful words used beautifully

 

  • may learn, and unlearn, some things

 

 

All I really believe I have done is write about uncertainty and uncertain things <albeit couched in a variety of topics and opinions>.

 

As the author of this site I have learned one thing for sure … Uncertainty truly is a real bitch.

It encompasses an inability to choose, a lack of clarity or evidence to a foreseeable outcome and throws in a nice dose of ‘little to be hopeful for’ and some shit to fear the possibility of.

 

It creates a suspicion that the future just may not be the one you were hoping for.

 

That said.

uncertainty-stressful

In my 1,900th post I decided to talk a little about what I perceive as a unique time, at least in our lifetime. It is a point in which general uncertainty is colliding with personal uncertainty which is colliding with leadership uncertainty.

 

Why is this unique?

 

Well.

 

This alignment rarely happens.

We may have some personal uncertainty but we look to our leaders and they offer certainty. Or maybe we have some leadership uncertainty but we feel good about ourselves and you just do what you know is right.

You get the point.

 

Now.

 

Far too often, I included, we suggest that uncertainty is about a test in character. But today, in the present, this is becoming a test in skill, competency, abilities and, yes, character. We will be tested on all fronts … inside ourselves as well as outside ourselves. We will need to decide what we are truly good, if not great, at and either stand aside and let someone else do what needs to be done or permit ourselves to accept that it just ain’t gonna happen the way we wish it would happen. That is a test on all fronts not just character.

 

Regardless.

 

This is a moment. A moment in which uncertainty reigns. A moment within the ‘tide of the affairs of men. ‘

 

Yeah … within my 1st 5 posts, on December 5th 2009, I posted this:

 

—————

 

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

 

William Shakespeare

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This quote is a reminder that opportunities in life are fleeting, but there are many … uhm … if you pay attention.

And, yes, I do think it is nice to remind yourself there are many opportunities ebbing and flowing in front of us <because then you stop dwelling on regrets>.

But I imagine my point today is that while we should seek these tides and be aware they exist … sometimes the tide in the affairs of men is thrust upon us.

 

I write today feeling like that last thought better reflects the uncertain moment we live in presently.

 

 

big-decisions-stress-uncertaintyTo help … I pulled out my battered copy of Hayakawa’s “Use the Right Word” trying to … well … find the right words.

And on page 550 there it was – significant.

Synonyms for significant are listed as  consequential, grave, important, momentous, serious, vital and weighty.

 

These are the words we use to refer to factors, and moments, that are outstanding, crucial or that have considerable force or effect. The word ‘significant’ itself suggests something that is outstanding because it is especially meaningful or excellent; no urgency or forcefulness is necessarily suggested by the word — its impact is set in stone and solid.

 

The power of the individual word is that it contains, and retains, each aspect of the synonym words.

 

So, yes, what makes this moment so solidly significant … is its less than solid uncertainty.

 

And maybe that is why this particular uncertainty in the present seems a little more agonizing.

 

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“Our civilization is founded on the shambles, and every individual existence goes out in a lonely spasm of helpless agony.”

 

William James

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I am not a ‘glass is half empty’ view of Life and living Life guy, yet, James has a point here.

 

Almost everything we do, certainly anything good, is built on the shambles of something. Therefore, our existence is challenged by the threat of some helpless agony … in our pursuit of being happier with some unknown fragments-align-capture-choose-comunication-malpracticecertainty.

 

In this case … the shambles we are trying to build upon is ‘uncertainty.’

 

And while some may suggest “how the hell can you build something out of nothing” I would suggest that is what we do when we are at our best.

 

When we use our skills, whatever capabilities we have and work together while being the best people we can be … we build something out of the nothingness uncertainty.

 

Here is what I know.

 

We all seek to make some positive impact on the world whether that world be our immediate circle or some grand global circle.

And I read somewhere that to live nobly is to avert one’s eyes from the bad and seek that which can be found in the light of good.

 

And I think that is what James hints at … averting one’s eyes is … well … not easy.

 

Tell someone to not look at something and the temptation to look increases exponentially. And, let’s be absolutely clear, while uncertainty resides mostly in nothingness, and nothing tangible, we place that uncertainty in tangible things <events or people> so that we can stare at it as a prime example of uncertainty.

 

It is not that we seek the agony and sadness of Life … I tend to believe we want some tangibleness because then it seems more easily conquered.

 

And then this uncertainty alignment agony takes on a whole new level … our inevitable desire to create some plans to make things certain.

 

Yikes.

 

We are taught almost from day one that planning, and a plan, is the key to success and happiness. In other words … this suggests we can … uhm … plan for certainty.

 

That seems kinda crazy.

 

Shit.

 

It sounds like agony.

 

In fact.

 

It sounds like we are constantly sifting through the shambles of plans made and broken as we seek to make some progress <difficult to define without some plan I guess> in Life.

 

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“The detective thinks he is investigating a murder. But truly he is investigating something else altogether, something he cannot grasp hold of directly. Satisfaction will be rare. Uncertainty will be your natural state. Much of your life will be spent in the dark woods, no path visible, with fear and loneliness your only companions.

 

But answers exist.

 

Solutions wait for you, trembling, pulling you to them, calling your name, even if you cannot hear.

 

I believe that someday, perhaps many lifetimes from now, all will be explained, and all mysteries will be solved. All knowledge will be free for the taking, including the biggest mystery of all – who we really are.

 

But for now, each detective, alone in the woods, must take the clues and solve mysteries alone.”

 

Jacque Silette

<fictional detective>

 

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Look.

 

Uncertainty is a royal bitch. It certainly makes us question ourselves — who we are as an individual and what we are truly capable of.  Today’s version of uncertainty is just our own version to the nth degree as it encompasses all uncertainty-hallways-doors-open-close-darkthings in our lives.

 

Here is the good news.

 

We all know answers exist … and we all know they await us … even if we cannot hear them … but we all know certainty exists somewhere.

 

This means we are constantly investigating who we really are and what we are really good at … often desperately grabbing at clues or proof to provide some comfort that we have either solved the mystery … or at least are on the path to solving it.

 

I will note that at all times I tend to find the “who you really are” as a silly, if not stupid, self-question.  Mostly because who I am today is not who I will necessarily be tomorrow.

 

But, in particular, in this time and place I tend to think it sells the moment short. It encourages us to find our inner strength and inner core of who we are and … well … we will be able to walk the bridge from uncertainty to more certain things & places.

 

That is wrong.

And dangerously wrong.

 

We are going to be judged for this moment in time.

 

That I can guarantee.

 

And it will not solely be on character. It will be on skills, abilities, capabilities and how well we identified what we could do and whether we did it or not.

 

This may sound harsh but the only people who will know who we truly are today are not us … but someone somewhere in a future yet to be defined. That will not stop us from being detectives … in fact … it will most likely be our continuous search for clues and solve what mysteries we can today that will guide us from uncertainty to certainty.

 

In the end.

 

Sometimes we call it uncertainty.

Or we call it ‘the unknown.’

 

But you know what? … it doesn’t matter what name you put on it.

 

It’s fear.

 

In this case it is an alignment of fears of whether we will be good enough as people, good enough in skills, good enough in leadership, good enough in abilities and good enough to meet whatever challenges exist in uncertainty.

 

Oh.

 

Sometimes I believe we associate fear with weakness … uhm … or possibly too often associated with ‘not enough positive thinking.’

That is wrong to do so.

 

I tend to believe we would be much better off, particularly in the here & now, to cut through the bullshit and just call it by its name and face it … in all its black & white glory – uncertainty and the fear associated with it.

 

I am not suggesting that I don’t feel fear … of course I feel fear.

 

Who the hell doesn’t? <and if they say they don’t … they are lying>

 

I believe it helps to just face it.

uncertain-trying-times-time-to-try-chaos-do

And I am not saying this because I believe “fear is a great motivator.” <because I would suggest that it is really survival that is a great motivator … not fear>. But because fear, more often than not, actually freezes us … makes us do nothing. If we face it, we name it … we say ‘fuck you’ to it … we will do what it takes and needs to be done … try things in trying times.

 

To be clear.

 

We are not at a cross roads.

 

We are on a road and we have an obstacle … one that we just cannot see and one that no one has articulated or shown us yet. It just exists in our minds and, yet, we know it exists as much as the thought of Santa Claus in the hearts of children.

 

I do know I feel uncertainty and I am fairly sure I am not in a minority.

Whether you came out of the election exited or unexcited the one most common theme is “I am not sure what is going to happen.” Therefore, uncertainty resides at the core of what is in the here & now.

 

What I know for sure is that we will build something out of his nothingness. We will look back, or the generations yet to come will look back, and they will see something.

 

Today, in my 1900th post, this I know.

 

That something will be built from the scraps of uncertainty and it will be built upon a foundation of what is the best of us.

The structure will showcase the strengths of our better skills, capabilities and abilities.

The skyline of the future will be a reflection of the best of us having worked together to create a better version of what exists.

 

Why do I know this?

 

Anything less is not the best version of who and what we are.

 

Anything less means uncertainty won.

 

 

This is our test.

 

This is our time.

This is our certainty.

 

That I know.things to know

 

 

 

Yeah.

 

On November 18th 2009 … 1899 posts ago … I wrote these words: Welcome to Enlightened Conflict.

I have never stopped believing that the best version of us is better than most of us think it is … and that everyone just needs to be reminded of their ‘better version’ in order to permit it to stand up and speak out and ‘do.’

 

It is time for us to prove me right.

 

But … uncertainty certainly is a bitch, ain’t it?

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