Being Certain in an Uncertain World | The Mental Toughness Coach - Chris Dorris

Being Certain in an Uncertain World

I got pulled over the other day. Decided to try something new with the cop. He came up to the car and told me I had been speeding. I asked him if that was, in fact, his observation, that my velocity had been exceeding the legal limit. He squinted at me a little and said, yeah.

So I ask him if he’s familiar with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. He said no. I explained to him that that principle shows us that the energetics involved in the act of making a conscious observation of something changes either its velocity or position in space-time. Therefore, we could never know if I really was speeding since the act of him observing me altered either my speed or where I was in the world.  We just couldn’t really be sure if I was, in fact, speeding.

That didn’t really work out the way I thought it would, but it did give me an idea for my next blog post.

Here’s the paradox:

What we can know is that we can’t really know anything.

We live in a world that is characterized by uncertainty. We can’t know that the sun will “rise” in the east tomorrow. We can only have a high degree of certainty around that based on our historical observations. However, there’s an interesting thing about the human mind. The mind permits us to act as if we know even though we know we can’t know. In other words, even though science show us that we can’t really be 100% certain about anything, we can still get ourselves into a state of absolute certainty about something and act from that state. Which is actually quite cool, given that when we do that, we are more masterful at whatever it is that we’re doing.

I go to stand up out of my chair. I am so certain that I will succeed in standing up that I don’t even consider the possibility of failure. That’s the knowing state. It is possible that at the moment I go to stand up I could have a stroke, my friend could have walked into the room silently and could hold me down in the chair, the chair could break and I fall. There are an infinite number of possibilities that would have the result of me failing to stand up in that moment. But yet I am certain that I will stand, so I have no hesitation and I stand with doubtlessness and fluidity of motion. It’s a masterful act because it comes from a place of pure doubtlessness or knowing.

I want to apply this to everything I do in life. I want to reprogram myself to operate from the knowing state with the things that are most important to me in life. I want to be certain in an uncertain world and create miracles.

I cover this thoroughly in my course, ALL IN! 2.0

1 Comment

  1. Jeff Ericson says:

    Having kids has made this concept manifestly clear in a wonderful way. My 3-year-old wakes up each morning and his horizon is completely clear. I hear his little feet pad down the hallway, look up, and there’s his bright little face waiting to find out what adventures lie ahead of him. He doesn’t know that today is Wednesday, or a school day, or anything that might spoil his mood.
    And not only that, the power and the absolute necessity of a strong imagination, almost like a shadow to ‘reality’ has become really clear. There are so many blind spots in his experience that without a strong and fluid imagination to stitch everything together, life would be so dis-continuous as to make no sense.
    To illustrate a little, we were on a road-trip from Denver, driving across I-40 in New Mexico. We passed a calf in the median of the highway, with about 4 highway patrol cars trying to keep the little guy from causing an accident. Miles sees all this, and wants to know what’s going on. I told him just that the calf had gotten past the fence and was stuck in the middle of the highway. Without missing a beat, he told me that the calf was looking for its mom, and got out of the fence. Then, to stitch it all together, worked out for me exactly how the calf climbed the fence, walked up the road, and was asking the police for help. And he was as sure of himself as your DPS officer was that you were going 92 in a school zone (shame on you, by the way). And presented with new evidence, he’ll revise his story and move on, still absolutely certain of what happened.

    The magic seems to be this suspended judgement about what should happen – the space between the marionette and the puppeteer – when he stands up from his chair, he’s completely certain he’ll rise. But if he kept rising like a balloon or a superhero, well, he’d just roll with that, too. He’d be delighted, but not a bit surprised.

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