Embracing Uncertainty | The Mental Toughness Coach - Chris Dorris

Embracing Uncertainty


One of my favorite definitions of enlightenment : “The ability to embrace paradox, contradiction and uncertainty.” Another: “The ability to choose peace in every moment of your life.”

So if we marry those two definitions, then we can surmise that in order to be able to choose peace, we also need to be able to embrace uncertainty. Not just deal with uncertainty, but embrace it. Love it. Genuinely feel gratitude for the unpredictable nature of life.

We have challenges right now. Times are tough. Everyone’s feeling it somehow. Some more than others. Some are feeling inconvenienced by the economy while others are feeling pure panic. Some are finding this time to be an unprecedented opportunity for investment. Others have lost everything that could be invested and are in survival mode.

What I find remarkably interesting, however, is that there are extremely wealthy people who are in panic mode and extremely poor people who are in peace. Which supports the fact that the variable of how financially set you are is totally irrelevant to your ability to choose peace, embrace uncertainty or activate creative genius. The only variable that matters now, or ever, is your EQ, or Emotional Quotient – your ability to choose how you view the world and its current state.

Uncertainty is the design of the universe in which we exist, from which we emerged. It’s the nature of our universe, and is also therefore our very own nature. We’ve been taught to fear that uncertainty. And that’s bad teaching.

Because of the conditioning we have experienced in our lifetimes, as well as our thousands of years old conditioning that we’ve inherited from the collective human experience, we have been taught to pay great attention to what could potentially go wrong as an effort to avoid it.

We’ve been conditioned to selectively attend to the fact that, under certain circumstances, if certain things do or don’t happen, we’re not going to be OK. In fact, we very well may be screwed. And we’ve become very sophisticated at creating supportive arguments for that notion.

For example, I could effortlessly argue that if this economy doesn’t turn around soon, I’ll lose everything and could go homeless. I could make that argument. Convincingly. If I had to argue that in a debate, I could do it, and win. But WHY would I ever want to do that?! That thinking doesn’t serve me. It leads to fear, and fear disables creativity which is the failure of intelligence. And I need my creativity and all forms of intelligence to create wealth, or anything else that I wish to manifest now or ever. So my convincing argument is unintelligent. And that argument is the product of my conditioning. I’ve been taught to think that way.


The great irony within this is that where I put my attention, I also put my energy and what I think about, I bring about. So, is it potentially true that if the economy doesn’t recover soon, and then this thing happens, and then that doesn’t and then this and that…then I could end up homeless? The best answer? Who cares? That’s a waste of my time. It leads to nothing creative or solution focused. It’s also the kind of thinking that creates heart failure. It’s infinitely unintelligent.


So then what IS intelligent? It’s wise to feel good. And how then do I feel good? By thinking well. By choosing to change the internal dialog that I am having with myself all day every day. To make the content of that inner conversation one that is inspiring. To talk to myself in a way that leaves me feeling excited about thriving, not worried about surviving. I want to focus on my desires as opposed to my fears. Again, whichever one I choose to give attention to, is the one that I’ll give life to.

This kind of disciplined thinking is easy when things are going our way. But despite the fact that it’s tougher to think well under challenge, it’s more critical than ever to be a great thinker under duress. This time is one that I refer to as a collective critical moment. It’s popular these days to be worried and to complain. But that kind of thinking is actually, if anything, prolonging the struggle and return to abundance.

As Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t contribute to the fear consciousness. Practice activating your creative genius by feeling gratitude for the challenges that we are experiencing right now, and choose enthusiasm. Choose creativity, innovation. Choose peace. Choose to embrace the uncertainty of all of this. That’ll never go away. Once the economy recovers, the uncertainty will still be there. So why wait? Practice starting to love it now.







  1. Amy Abernethy says:

    We have learned so much from you…..how to reframe our lives in a way that create so much more joy! We still have much work to do – and much adversity to combat – but we continue to be inspired by your messages. Thank you!

  2. Dave Henning says:

    Chris, I really liked this post and it probes an area where I have had historically had a particular weakness. As an over-achiever in high school, I rarely learned to deal with failure and uncertainty. Instead, I could always work a little harder and control my own outcomes. In adulthood the process is not so easy.

    A former teacher of mine pointed out that major donors to colleges and private schools are usually not the “A” students, but those who were in the middle of the pack. It is believed that they learned how to deal with the uncertainty and failure and were thus more inclined to take risks in their professional life.

    I did go through a job loss early this year and found myself bouncing between embracing and fearing the uncertainty that involved.

    I really like the mantras and will use them going forward.

    All the best,
    Dave …

    • chrisdorris says:

      That’s an intertesting stat, Dave, about the college donors being the mid-range students. There’s so much talk these days, finally, about the importance of Emotional Strength as a predictor of success. And it hasn’t until very recently been formally introduced to curriculum in the schools.

      The mantras are huge. Whether it’s the ones I listed or anything that reprograms the inner chatter into something inspiring. Something that activates creative genius and disciplined action.

      Thanks for the comments, Dave.


  3. Brandon Rogers says:

    Thanks for the uplifting message. I can use a lot more of that positive attitude in my life, as I’m sure most people can. I come across way too many negative people (doom and gloom) and it’s draining! Thanks for putting me in the loop!


    • chrisdorris says:

      You’re so welcome, Buddy! And thanks for the comment. I’m gonna keep the blogs coming, but not the email announcements about them, so if you want to keep on getting them, click the orange RSS feed icon on the left next to the video and subscribe. That way you’ll get each new one as soon as it’s up. You rock, Buddy!


  4. Eric Peterson says:

    Great post Chris! While in my last job search I could have easily gone down the wrong path with my way of thinking. However I kept thinking about all the benefits of making the change at mid-career instead of thinking about the potential stress that a lack of a job could cause. Having done that I always felt empowered and creative throughout the campaign. I also remember thinking at times how are the people handling this same situation without exercising some of the mental toughness tool that I’ve learned?!? I’m now working at a start-up which one could also infuse the concern for the future, but that wouldn’t do any good. Instead the whole team is constantly thinking about how big we’ll be and what fun it is to grow a place from scratch! Keep the blogs up…I love them!!

  5. Kim Bennett says:

    Thanks so much Chris! Choosing to think this way can not only change our lives but can have a huge impact on the people around us…thanks for being such an inspiration!

  6. Eileen Rogers says:

    Thanks for the reminder as I head into this weekend Chris!

  7. John Hoskins says:

    Good stuff Chris – very timely message for so many who “feel” more uncertain than ever before.

  8. Monica says:

    What a great post and so timely for me. Thanks, Chris!

  9. Hey brother,your message is spot on. We need more of Chris D. in our lives! I’m still out here creating my dream….so much to do, such little time. My awareness is much improved, I’m learning to BE. Thanks for the nudge. Let’s coffee up soon. C

  10. manisha says:

    thank you chris for yet again inspiring and guiding me..

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