I recently had an interesting discussion with my niece. In her opinion, I am crazy to go surfing with a recently broken neck or kayak fishing alone in the open sea. As she was really worried I decided to explain to her my way of mitigating risks and dealing with uncertainties.
I believe that you will never be 100% in control of events in your life as there is always an element of luck or bad luck in everything you do from crossing the street to sitting an important exam. In general, I believe that you can only plan for 80% of future events and that whatever you may think or however hard you may try, there will always be the 20% unforeseen possibilities.
As an example, I told my niece that she could ride her bike inside of the development she lives in while wearing her helmet and protections which will make her feel safer than on the street. But this doesn’t mean that her breaks could not stop working and she couldn’t run straight into a car.
Fear of the unknown
This 20 % can really ruin your life! It is that mind boggling ‘what if?’ question that you can ask yourself about everything in your life from changing jobs to moving countries.
Do not let the 20% uncertainty stop you from living a full life. As soon as you accept that you can’t fully be in control and that whatever you do, there will always be the 20% unknown and uncontrollable factor, you will start to be free from fear.
So, how to deal with uncertainties?
The most important part is to give a 100% to the 80% you can control. For example, when I go kayak fishing, I check all my gear and the weather. I have a checklist that I go through to make sure everything is in order. When I’m on the water, I then use my experience and knowledge to best judge the situation I am in. This will allow me to fully secure the 80% I know of and can control.
It is then a matter of accepting that you can’t foresee everything and that there are many possibilities of things to go wrong.
Letting go of this 20% is the key to truly living a full life. It is accepting that we can’t control everything in life; that whatever we do, life will always be full of uncertainties.
The truth is that life is about living and risks are part of it; so let go of the fear and the ‘what ifs’ and start living fully. As Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did”.