The Power of Uncertainty


“Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.” – R.I. Fitzhenry

Uncertainty can be challenging but ultimately it’s what keeps life meaningful. Uncertainty is…

  • Stressful and exciting
  • Fear invoking and empowering
  • Unnerving and confidence building

The process of uncertainty is called life. It’s what keeps things interesting, engaging, and fulfilling. If you knew what to expect at all times, my guess is you’d get bored, very bored. Yes, of course there are plenty of areas where we don’t welcome uncertainty. From simple things such as having your morning coffee taste just right to knowing your car will start to more major things such as getting a clean bill of health from your doctor each year.

You may feel uncertain when you step into the unknown and decide to be your own boss, start a family, buy a home, change jobs, or even sign-up for a class. I felt lots of uncertainty when I left my finance job in NYC and started a new career as a Business Coach, and then again when I moved from NYC to Los Angeles. I also built a lot of confidence by making it through each of these transitions. You have to step through the phase called uncertainty to create something bigger in your life.

Many people condition their mind to view a change in their situation as a bad thing when in reality it’s neutral. The event only takes on a positive or negative spin when we classify it. Typically, we are excited for “positive” events and uncomfortable with “negative” events because they fall outside our comfort zone. Feeling unsure or being in the uncertain phase is similar to being outside your comfort zone.

People who turn ideas into action agree that the magic happens outside your comfort zone.

Here’s why uncertainty can be a good thing in your life:

1. Uncertainty Leads to Major Breakthroughs

Think about major shifts and successes in your life. Were you 100% sure of the process the entire time or did you have some doubts?

One of my clients had a catering business in NYC that was highly respected but she was always struggling to get her next gig. She wanted something better for herself. She researched other careers and together we decided that her strengths matched a career in Residential Real Estate. Everyone told her it was a difficult time to enter the NYC market, and it was, but she was determined. She became a broker at a well-known company and became Rookie Broker of the Year in 2011. She’s on track to be the top broker in the office this year and, most importantly, loves her career. She had to step into the unknown to discover what she could accomplish.

2. Uncertainty Leads to a Confidence boost

When you successfully move through challenging periods such as starting your own company, changing careers, losing weight, or taking on a new project, you gain one more data point and prove to yourself that you can do it. These are called “wins” and they need to be acknowledged. There’s nothing new about the concept of uncertainty just that it pushes you outside your comfort zone, which is naturally an uncomfortable feeling.

We all have uncertainty in our lives — sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of what we’ve achieved and leverage these wins to build confidence.

3. Uncertainty Leads to Growth

After 25 years, Oprah said goodbye to her #1 rated talk show. Few people would part with this level of success to start a network. There’s much doubt around the network but they continue to take small steps forward each day. Oprah always wondered what her initials could be used for and when she started her network, OWN, it finally made sense (OWN = Oprah Winfrey Network). All achievers and entrepreneurs have to move through uncertainty to continue to grow.

The simple truth is that you need uncertainty in your life because it’s the fuel that helps you Live in Your Top 1% and reach for your highest potential.

TOP 1% BOTTOM LINE: Challenge yourself to condition your mind to realize that uncertainly leads to extraordinary opportunity and potential. Becoming comfortable with uncertainty is one of the key ingredients to success. And to share your best self, you need to produce genius level work and continuously move through these transition periods.

“Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man (and woman) to unfold his powers.”

– Erich Fromm

Photo by Helga Birna Jónasdóttir

12 thoughts on “The Power of Uncertainty”

  1. To me, uncertainty is that secret weapon I bring out when nothing else works. Sometimes, I just can’t get things done using exact processes and methods. So, I just make it complete out of the blue experiencing by doing things that seem silly and uncertain but have great probability of possibility.

  2. I am excited to say that I clicked on this article not knowing that it will have such an impact on me. I am currently going through a period of uncertainty as I debate quitting my job to start something completely new and different, but something that I know will make me happier.

    Thank you for making me see that uncertainty and the fear of change that comes with it, is not always a bad thing.

  3. Tony Robbins has uncertainty as his second human need – right after ‘certainty’. I agree with him. As much as we need to feel safe and secure – we also need to feel alive. It’s what makes us a species of exploration. :)

  4. Great article. At some point in life all of us face uncertainty. And as you said in the article, it’s all about training our mind to classify the change as good or bad. Interesting how I had myself thinking about this couple of days ago, and I came to realize that planning and scheduling our life rarely leaves place for uncertainty. And while we thought this is a good thing, over time we will only realize that that little spark of anticipation will be gone, and we will start to do things with less passion. Yet we still go for planning and over organizing. Strange creatures we are :)

  5. I love what you stated: The simple truth is that you need uncertainty in your life because it’s the fuel that helps you Live in Your Top 1% and reach for your highest potential.

    I have lived a life of uncertainty for the last 3 years and one thing is certain that it has built my confidence – allowed me to live a life of adventure and be at peace and in turn bring happiness to my spirit.

    Great post –


  6. Hi, I had no idea that I would be so inspired by this, I’m currently making huge changes in my life, divorced, getting out of the service, and a single father to an ADHD child. I have alot going on, and I’m totally afraid of failing my lil boy. I’m taking a huge leap, heading to Texas, I’m from Miami, Fla; and starting life anew, from scratch, just me and my son. So I would say that I’m surrounded by uncertainty!!!

    Thank you-


    1. Hey Joe, you sound like a helluva guy. Remember that fear you’re feeling stands for Feeling Excited And Ready. And it reminds you how much you care for your boy. Welcome it for a while as it will be your motivation, then sometime in the future it will be replaced with excitement. I wish you luck. Stu :)

  7. Talk about timing!

    Yesterday I left a part-time position at one of our local hospitals. I’d worked there for nearly three years in a position that most people would consider an easy gig. But easy didn’t equal growth and, at my age, growth is important.

    I’m not sure what my next act will be but I do know the uncertainty of what’s next is helping to light a fire of ideas in my mind.

    Thanks for writing and posting this article.

    It was just what I needed to read at 5:30 a.m.

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