Day 28 — Embrace Uncertainty

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December 2020

In high school and college, we operate based on promises, a sense of certainty — study hard, get good grades, take part in extracurriculars, and you will get into a great college. Rinse and repeat for four more years, and you will get a degree.

The kids who stand out, however, tend to take initiative by building their own projects and personal network. They incorporate a degree of uncertainty into their lives.

It’s easy to deal with certainty because you can operate on autopilot and still get a good outcome. However, many actions you take deal with the risk of uncertainty. Occasionally this will feel good with dopamine-heavy activities, like gambling & lotto tickets. But usually, there’s a feeling of unease. Building a project that might fail has risk involved because you give up time, resources, and opportunity cost (what could you have done instead?).

As I’ve been thinking about permissionless apprenticeships, where you proactively provide value, I’ve realized that there is a level of uncertainty to it. You could spend days working on a project for someone, and what will you get? Ghosted? A friend? A mentor? A new career? You don’t know.

Although you make sacrifices while embarking down an obscure path, the potential rewards are almost always greater with uncertainty present. It’s a fun dilemma to wrestle with. You don’t want to waste your time, but uncertainty may be necessary & unavoidable, especially if you wish to receive greater rewards.

Taking action and being proactive will not always pan out in the way that you hope. However, there is always a positive perspective. Think of yourself as someone who is cultivating characteristics that will set you up for future success no matter what. If you avoid things because you don’t know the outcome, you set yourself up for failure. Embrace uncertainty to stir the pot & create your own luck.

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by Amaan