Certainty vs. Uncertainty

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Certainty vs. Uncertainty

Everyone, in order to live a life of meaning, needs to fulfill six core needs: certainty, uncertainty, significance, love, contribution, and growth.

It might be surprising for you to realize that you need both certainty and uncertainty in your life. Tony Robbins recommends a balance of both certainty and uncertainty in one’s life because having an extreme of one aspect can be problematic for you.  Too much certainty can actually lead to a boring and predictable life. You’ll need zest and spontaneity. On the other hand, too much uncertainty can be overwhelming; you’ll lack structure and a sense of familiarity.

There are people who prioritize their need for certainty over uncertainty because they’re afraid to step out of their comfort zone. They’d rather feel safe because they’re unwilling to take the risks of the unknown. And then there are a few people who want to break free from the routine and live a careless life because they don’t want to be burdened with too much responsibility.

 

Meeting the Need for Certainty

Even the most spontaneous person needs a certain degree of certainty. This is about wanting to feel safe, secured, and comfortable. It’s about being sure you won’t experience pain or danger.

To meet this need, you must develop confidence in yourself. You need to know that you can find solutions to your problems or get help when you need it. Certainty is dependent on who you are as a person, and the attitude you have towards life, not so much on external things. So, your job, your money, your fame, your assets, and even your circumstances do not dictate your certainty in life.

When you’re insecure or when you lack confidence in yourself, your need for certainty will be anchored on other things and this can produce problematic behavior, such as overeating, procrastination, and being controlling in your relationships with others.

 

Meeting the Need for Uncertainty

No one can survive without the tiniest desire to experience something uncertain. In order to meet our need for excitement, variety, and uncertainty, we usually plan trips out of town, we watch movies, we go to concerts, we experience art, and take up new classes. We look for something to challenge us.

If your life is too structured and predictable, you may look for unhealthy ways to meet this need. These self-destructive ways include drinking too much, creating constant drama in our lives, creating problems to solve, and getting into other forms of addiction. If you’re engaging in any of these activities right now, then you might be fulfilling your need to experience something uncertain. Direct your attention to healthy and sustainable ways to create spontaneity in your life.

 

Becoming aware of unfulfilled needs

 As human beings, we have valid needs. The problem is when we address valid needs through invalid ways. Invalid ways lead to self-destruction. When you are aware that these self-destructive activities are generated by valid needs, then you can find empowering ways to address them.

Let’s see if you’re a person who’s more into routine and structure (certainty) or you’re someone who’s more into spontaneity and variety (uncertainty). Tony Robbins created this test to identify what way you’re likely to lean, we’ve tweaked it to reveal your level of inclination for certainty or uncertainty.

Every statement must be graded as: “No,” “Partly,” or “Yes.” Honestly grade each statement: “Yes,” for “yes, this is really me.” “Partly” for “this is partly how I am,” and “No” for “This is probably not how I am.” (If you don’t know whether it applies, it’s usually best to check “no.”)

 

I don’t need to feel grounded.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I like taking risks.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I don’t fear change.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I like to develop new ideas and projects.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I’m not so security conscious.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I hate the feeling of boredom.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

Danger is exciting for me.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

There is always something new to be learned.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I don’t like things to get predictable.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I’m always looking for new experiences.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I’m not comfortable with routines and habits.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I’m an adventurous person.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

I suffer when I feel blocked.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I enjoy suspense.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I often look for new forms of entertainment.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I like the thrill of experiencing fear sometimes.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

 

I like the idea of transferring to a new job every so often.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I can’t stand to feel stagnant.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I can’t live in one single place for the rest of my life.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

I don’t care about having much stability in life.

Yes      ______

Partly    ______

No         ______

 

If your answers to these questions are mostly “Yeses”, then you are inclined towards uncertainty. If your answers to these questions are mostly “Nos”, then you are inclined to certainty. If your answers are mostly “Partly”, then you need to take the time to get to know yourself more.

Now that you are able to identify your inclination towards certainty and uncertainty, this can help you satisfy these needs in a balanced way.

 

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Articles written by our internal Daily Guru writers, who are certified & qualified growth & development professionals.