Tip: There is one thing you can always count on!
Years ago, I read a book by Dr. Scott Peck called The Road Less Traveled. Dr. Peck was a psychiatrist and his book became a best seller, selling over five million copies. In that book, he said something I will never forget. He made the comment, “There is only one thing in life that you can certainly count on every day and that is uncertainty!” It is important to know that he did not say this with a negative spirit of heaviness or despair; as a psychiatrist, he was simply making the point that life is continually changing and that if we do not have the ability to change with the “ebb and flow” of life, we are going to be in trouble. We have to learn to be flexible and even welcome the uncertainties that come to us each day.
None of us knows what a day will bring forth, but that shouldn’t create despair; it should bring excitement. It should be accepted with the attitude, “I do not know what this day is going to bring, but I am willing to face it and deal with life on life’s terms! I am excited about the new opportunities that I will face today.” I believe it is important to go into each day with an attitude of faith rather than fear. When you face the uncertainties of life with a spirit of despair and heaviness, you end up being disappointed and the fear that surrounds that type of attitude is not healthy. It will do you no good and will not change things. However, when you look at life with an attitude of faith, optimism and joy, you are actually preparing yourself for whatever comes your way.
Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I lie still for a few minutes and remind myself of the fact that the day will most assuredly bring with it uncertainties and that I can welcome them as they arrive. I do not need to fear them. They are my friends, so I can face them with a positive attitude and try to turn each situation into something good, not only for myself, but also for whomever else may be involved. Even in tragic situations I may be able to play a key role in encouraging or helping another person.
Uncertainty also carries with it incompetence. And the reason is that we lack the necessary ability or skills to handle uncertain situations. Nowhere is that more true than in the workplace. In fact, the famous business guru, Peter Drucker once said, “The only thing you will ever have in abundance in any workplace is incompetence!” When I first read that statement, my mind went immediately to the concept that is found in this Tip. Uncertainty breeds incompetence and incompetence relates back to uncertainty! They go hand in hand! If you are unsure about what you are doing, you are not going to do it very well!
We all recognize that there is a lot of uncertainty in the workplace and have probably experienced the incompetence that comes with it. However, if we apply the concept I am talking about, we begin to see that incompetence doesn’t have to reign at work (or anywhere else, for that matter). We can learn to be flexible and turn every situation into one that is more successful and helpful for everyone involved. This is a little bit tricky to do, but with a positive and upbeat attitude and with a strong desire to learn and grow, I have found that it is possible!
I believe this can be one of the most important concepts that you can burn into your heart and life. It is one that I practice in my own life. I find that almost every day is a positive experience if I recognize at the outset that by design each day will be different and therefore bring with it uncertainty. When you finally wake up to the reality that uncertainty is normal, you will handle it with a better attitude! You can always count on uncertainty!
Regardless of what happens at work, or with my family or friends, I always try to do my part to make things a little bit better. I try to take the uncertainties of life and turn them into good, positive experiences. I also try to take any incompetence that I possess and learn from it and try to do better next time.
Recently our entire internet system shut down. I worked for several hours on the phone with a technician who graciously helped me restore it. I am not very technical, but I am aware that uncertainty and incompetence go together so I wrote down everything he helped me do step by step. Then, this past week the rainy weather knocked out our service again. Uncertainty showed up again, but I was expecting it, so I was not surprised. I got out my page of notes so I would have no uncertainty. I did everything I did last time and presto – no incompetence – it was all restored and back online in a few minutes. That is what I am talking about! Expect the unexpected uncertainty and overcome the incompetence that is often associated with it. That is wisdom worth writing down!
I am not in this alone! You are right there beside me. Let’s do all that we can to greet the uncertainties of life with an attitude of faith and positive expectation so that at the end of the day, things will turn out well for everyone concerned. We will overcome our incompetence and be ready for the next thing that c0mes our way! Wouldn’t that be a great way to live every day?!
Tip: There is one thing you can always count on!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm
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