Embracing the Unknown

So many of us have been raised by loving and well meaning people who have tried to keep us safe by encouraging us to be fearful, whilst others of us are influenced by media and a society spreading warnings of those who took chances on the unknown and failed miserably. But what about everyone who succeeds or has adventure or learns not to mind when things don’t go as planned and to hold within their hearts the knowledge that often trusting in the unknown means they do or that something even better occurs?

If we are worried about the worst case scenarios in life, we will work to make sure we avoid them by forgoing the unknown and taking steps to make sure we stay certain and, therefore, safe. This way of living not only operates on the idea that the unknown equals danger and disaster but on a theory of compromise that prioritises a false sense of security over faith, optimism and possibility.

If we don’t wait for the house, the job, the partner we love because, we are told, we’ll never find anything perfect so we should just take what is available before it is too late and nothing is available, we are buying into a false forecast of a future based on doom and gloom and panic. What if we do stop waiting seconds, minutes or days before the right opportunity comes along?

Being responsible and trying to refuse the unknown are not the same thing. Planning is often crucial in life, as is the ability to go with the flow and re evaluate our path or our programme when we need to. Trying to mitigate all potential eventualities not only assumes that if we make plans and follow them to the letter, things will go as we want them to – wrong! – and we are left feeling deflated and unprepared when the unforeseen occurs but that all the unknown has to offer us is something less than what is available in the moment or that we can plan for ourselves.

We cannot read the future and often the claims that we are acting from an understanding of what will happen based on what has happened in our lives are baseless because of how unreliable memory is and because we perceive the world according to our point of view in the moment. What we see is determined by how we think and the beliefs and opinions we energise. If we do not believe in the potential of the unknown to offer us all that we wish for, more than is currently available and the chance to experience something better than are told we should settle for, we probably won’t notice when we are offered it.

Security is an illusion. Yes, it makes sense to fill the car with petrol before a long trip and get a good night’s sleep before a big event but choosing a destination we don’t really want to go to or deciding not to attend an occasion in an effort not to get our hopes up or risk feeling dissatisfied refuses the potential of the unknown to offer us opportunities for joy, newness, excitement and pleasure and operates on a shaky logic that experiencing disappointment or boredom is detrimental to our health, outside of our control and cannot easily get over.

Miracles happen. Faith is rewarded. When we leave our comfort zones and venture into the unknown, we learn, we expand and we grow. Putting plans in place and taking responsible action in life make obvious sense but compromising on what we really want out of a fear that life will be fatally upended, destroyed or damaged if we choose to wait for it only sees us less able to cope when our day to day lives go awry, frightened of things not working out as we planned for fear of feeling momentarily unhappy and unable to recover and living a life that is less than we deserve.

If we make sensible choices and also trust in the unknown to offer us a fulfilling and exciting experience at the same time, we take action towards creating and maintaining a responsible and secure life in the ways that are necessary whilst trusting that the unknown holds limitless possibilities for enjoyment and fulfilment. Being afraid of a future we can’t predict doesn’t make us psychic but limited; in our ability to embrace the unknown, in our capacity for resilience in the face of challenge or difficulty and in our potential for creating a truly great life that allows for moments of dejection and bounces back to create a new plan that makes sensible choices for avoiding true danger and upheaval whilst allowing for the possibility that things might turn out even better than we could have imagined in an unknown future we do not have the power to foresee.