Very little provides us with greater anxiety than not knowing something. What the doctor will tell us on our next visit. Not knowing where your young teenager is at 12 midnight on a Saturday evening. Not knowing the outcome of an organizational initiative that you do not control. Not knowing if a loved one will recover, survive or overcome. Not knowing if an argument with a best friend will be mended.
Sometimes not knowing can be our friend. When starting something not knowing how difficult it will be to complete. We jump in head first with a lot of energy as we start. In this circumstance, our journey will reveal to us both what we don’t know and what we must learn. As we learn, our odds of achieving what is difficult improves.
A lot of energy is expended when not knowing because it is filled with anxiety. Pointless anxiety with respect to understanding that what we are anxious about is outside of our control. Our minds always point to the worst conclusion. This bad conclusion overpowers us and holds us hostage while time marches on. We embrace it with a certainty that is irrational yet helpful because we are wired to always know. Thinking the worst protects us from even greater disappointment.
We are much more comfortable knowing than not knowing. What is difficult and we must work on is understanding that not knowing is not a weakness and does not change our present state at all. It just signals the fact that what we seek is out of our control and we must patiently wait for it to be revealed.
Very, very hard to do. Agreed. But very, very necessary to survive the many ups and downs that life throws at us. Besides, it is always great to save your energy for things that are more fun!
Besides, I being an optimist, would argue that what we don’t know won’t always lead to the worst outcome we can imagine.