Vintage GMW: 5 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Uncertainty

This site my have completely crashed back in December (bad month in general), but thanks to GMW The Ultimate Guide: Your First Year Out of College I still have a collection of the best posts that made this blog into the popular Gen Y spot that it is. As a result, I’ll occasionally post some of my faves from the ebook with a few added twists. Enjoy!

One of the reasons post grad anxiety and quarter life crises occur is because of our fear of the unknown.  For the first time in our lives, no one is really telling is what to do and we’re not really sure where our next steps will lead us.

Sure, you’re supposed to find a job. But hey, we inherited a crappy economy.

Sure, you’re supposed to move out. But there’s no work to be had that will give you sufficient funds to do so.

Sure, you could go to grad school. But that’s a lot of student loans and still no guarantee of work when you’re done.

Sure, you could go abroad. But of course that’s not free (or cheap).

Our futures are uncertain, and no matter how many plans we make, a piece will always remain uncertain.

Scary thought, isn’t it?

Of course, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t do the things you want. If you want to go abroad, go to grad school, start a side business, move across the country etc., figure it out and do it. People have been figuring it out for centuries and you won’t be the last ones in this position. However, you will still have to deal with a little uncertainty.

This is where some people prosper while others fail. You can either let it control you and turn into a nervous wreck, or you can take on a new perspective and enjoy the present.

5 Ways to Overcome Fear of Uncertainty

1. Make plans, not expectations.

Expecting a fantastic outcome without actually planning for it is a major faux paus when it comes to this kind of stuff. You only end up setting yourself up for disappointment if things do not match up to your expectations. And let’s face it, when does life ever go according to anyone’s expectations?

Focus on what you can do in order to create the experience that you want. Do you need to save money? Can you start looking for jobs before you graduate? Do you need to find roommates? Of course, sometimes life throws us some curveballs, which brings me to my next point.

2. Prepare for different outcomes.

A true sign of maturity is being able to gracefully handle a situation that does not go your way. Make a list of the different outcomes of your plans, that way if you are met with a curveball, you’ll at least have an idea of how to handle it.

3. Focus on what you can control.

The fact of the matter is that we cannot control everything. I know this may be hard for some of you (including myself) to swallow, but you are only fooling yourself if you think you can control every single aspect of your life.

There are some things which you can control. For instance, let’s say you have moved across the country and can’t find anything because you have a ton of clutter lying around from unpacking. Rather than freaking out because you can’t find your favorite coffee mug, start organizing the space little by little.

4. Become confident in your ability to adapt.

As human beings we are very capable of adapting to different situations.  I mean, come on, we’ve been adapting since the beginning of time. The problem lies in that we are not always very confident in our ability to do so.

Ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen if x, y, and z don’t go my way?” Unless it’s a life or death situation, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

5. Balance.

Ok, this may be kind of out there, but hear me out. One of the biggest problems I had in dealing with the uncertainty of the future is that I spent every waking hour trying to figure it out. If I had to read X Book about running a business, I would stress out about it as if my life depended on it.  What eventually ended up happening is I never took any time to relax anymore. Sometimes I thought I had even forgotten how to relax.

Balance is key no matter what stage of your life you are in, but I think it rings particularly true as a 20something trying to figure their lives out for the first time.

The fear of uncertainty doesn’t have to control you. YOU are the creator of your own life, and although we tend to forget this, WE are in the driver’s seat. WE have the freedom to make our own choices and really design the lives we want to live.

This is an excerpt from the Personal Development and Happiness chapter of GMW Ultimate Guide: The First Year Out of College. If you’d like more inspiring writing concerning life design, personal finance, entrepreneurship, career and wellness make sure to grab your copy today! It makes a great gift for the recent grad or someone who just needs to get their stuff together.

Image via  sacrifice_87

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