Uncertainty and fear amid the pandemic: why now is a good time to reinvent your life

Illustration. Photographed by Klaus Vedfelt
Illustration. Photographed by Klaus Vedfelt
Klaus Vedfelt

A study titled, When uncertainty meets life: The effect of animacy on probability expression, shows that people make probability predictions almost all the time.

How can we then make use of probability predictions to better our lives should we find ourselves in a place we don't desire to be? The research paper suggests you "maintain a good balance between a high level of readiness for the events that are most likely to occur and a general ability to respond appropriately when the unexpected occurs".

READ MORE: ‘I never cried when my mom passed on’ - Why it's not always unnatural to grieve without tears

Sure, you cannot prepare for retrenchment, losing a loved or even a pandemic, but you can deal with the panic that comes with uncertainty, by better understanding the cause of the upheaval.

Coach and consultant to social justice leaders and activists, Shamillah Wilson, believes in addition to external conditions, panic also comes from our own expectations of ourselves.

Very often these expectations are borne out of our context or messages we may have received during our journeys. However, what we fail to realise is that life never goes exactly as we plan it and that sometimes where we plan to be in our lives is based on incomplete ideas or understanding of ourselves.

READ MORE: OPINION: Women will bear the brunt of recklessness during lockdown as health, finances are compromised

It may be that you are panicking about un-achieved goals you had set or you're fearful of the future after the pandemic. Though you need to acknowledge the emotions, you also have to interrogate their root cause. Could you be able to let go of those expected outcomes?

Shamillah believes if you taking a moment to pause and look at circumstances leading to your panic, you are on the right track. You need to consider the journey that brought you to this point and view it with a sense of appreciation rather than a judgement that the picture does not look the way you had envisioned it.

"The current location has some value and lessons in it if only you are willing to connect to that. If the panic is related to feelings of being stuck or feelings of not moving, then let go of the notion that you should be moving and just find peace with the current reality," Shamillah says.

A previous W24 article also highlighted the fact that internalised social conditioning is a major catalyst for people to want to reach certain milestones, even when it's not possible. Read the article below.

READ MORE: It's okay to defer your 2020 goals to another year if they are interrupted by the pandemic

Shamillah suggests these four reasons to embrace the state that the world is in and embark on a new journey:

1 - The only sure thing in life is change. When you reinvent yourself, you are intentionally activating the change in your life (not waiting for the universe to send its version of change to you!)

2 - Reinvention allows you to be relevant to yourself, but also adjust to the world. It signals an agility and resilience that contributes to emotional and mental well-being.

3 - As long as you are willing to reinvent yourself, you are learning. Reinvention is a way to push yourself to grow in a world where most people get attached to their comfort zone.

4 - When you are willing to reinvent yourself, regardless of age, you have committed to not let fear be in charge of your life.  That, in itself, is a compelling life goal.

We shouldn't fear uncertainty and look at the new possibilities that life has brought us, which is an opportunity for reinventing ourselves. "I would suggest that you also be gentle with yourself and reframe the current experience as a gift," Shamillah says.

Have you tried reinventing yourself? Tell us here

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