Uncertainty is torture. It’s one of the most difficult things for people to deal with. The old saying “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t” keeps many people stuck in old relationships, in jobs they can’t stand, and living in parts of the world they don’t like.
Change is scary, and new situations bring about uncertainty. But that doesn’t mean we should shy away from change. A much as it’s scary and uncertain, it offers that same measure of growth and excitement. In fact, the physical body perceives fear and excitement in exactly the same way: the heart races, skin flushes, breathing accelerates, and we break into a sweat. The brain decides whether we’re experiencing fear or excitement, and we can train it to “assume excitement.” In other words, in the absence of any legitimate proof that you are in real danger, you can assume that those feelings mean that you are excited about something.
There’s another important dynamic at play when we’re looking toward a new experience. We often assume we don’t know what to do. We claim we don’t know whether it’s better to stay in the relationship we’re in or break it off and start (or wait for) something new. The truth is that we almost always DO know what we want to do. Our inner compass points true; we just don’t always like what the road looks like.
Learning to trust in that inner compass is an important step in living an extraordinary life. There are three steps you can take to get there:
1. Be quiet. Take time each day to be quiet with yourself. First thing in the morning is a great time, before the hustle and bustle of a new day begins. Focus on your breath without trying to change it. Thoughts will arise, but let them leave as well. When you first start this, it might be helpful to have a pen and paper handy in case an actual important thought arises.
2. Ask yourself a question. Once you’ve quieted your mind, ask yourself that question you think you don’t know the answer to. I like to ask it this way: “If I knew what was best for me, what would I do about this situation?”
3. Listen to what your body has to say. Your brain is where all the resistance lives; the voice of your ego is likely to encourage you to not make any changes. Tune instead into the “gut brain”. This is a bundle of nerves in your gut, right below your rib cage. Science has proven that this center has a more primal intelligence than the brain. This is where your truth lives. Your answer will arise from that place.
Yes, it takes some practice to hear what your body has to say. But it’s worth the effort because it will invariably move you into a better place. After all, the devil you know is still a devil. The devil you don’t might not exist at all.