Tyler VawserTyler Vawser

Action in Uncertainty

August 25, 2020

“What do I do?” We all ask this simple question when we confront an unfamiliar situation.

Whenever this happens, I now use a framework: to assume the best outcome even though I don’t know how to get to that outcome. By assuming the best outcome, I can start to reverse engineer my actions that would have led to that outcome.

Thomas à Kempis writes of a man that is uncertain of his future:

This was the thought that ran through his mind:

“If I could only be sure that I would persevere to the end.”

And immediately he heard heaven’s answer within him:

“If you did know this [that you would persevere to the end], what would you do? Well, then, do now what you would then do, and all will be well with you.”

The result is he starts taking action immediately after —instead of being stuck in anxiety about the future. Of course, by taking action he (and you, and me) get closer to the outcome we’re hopeful for in the first place.

Anytime you hit an obstacle think first of the best outcome that could be. Then walk backwards from that point to where you are now and start taking the actions that can get you there.

To implement this framework use any one of the following questions:

  • If I were already an expert, what would I do?
  • If I had their trust, how would I act?
  • If I were perfect, how would I start?
  • If I knew I would get the answer I want, how would I ask the question?
  • If I knew without any doubt that things would work out, what action would I take right now?