Risk and uncertainty hinder us from a happy and easy life. Even at a young age, we were confronted with decisions that were risky or uncertain. What happens if I decide to do this? Every teenager is confronted with it. In their social or dating life and also their career. They sometimes need months to decide. Because the consequence of their decision is not clear or comes with a huge risk. Or in other words, risk and uncertainty plague their minds. This kind of situation is common and will not end in their future life. So are we. We are not totally free from them. Maybe right now, you have a big decision before you and you cannot decide properly. How to deal with uncertainty?
In many cases, people choose risk before uncertainty. Ambiguity aversion is the tendency to favor the known over the unknown, including known risks over uncertainty. For example, when choosing between two bets, we are more likely to choose a bet for which we know the odds, even if the odds are poor than the one for which we don’t know the odds.
This means that people choose their path only if the risk is known. For example, they would rather date a person if they know the intention than a person they do not know. The compatibility does not matter. Another example, people would work hard for a monthly salary of 3.000€/$ than a possible 30.000€/$. Just because the risks are identified for the one and uncertain for the other.
Uncertainty vs Risk
The following are a few differences between risk vs uncertainty:
- At risk, you can predict the possibility of a future outcome, while in uncertainty you cannot.
- Risks can be managed while uncertainty is uncontrollable.
- Risks can be measured and quantified while uncertainty cannot.
- You can assign a probability to risky events, while with uncertainty, you cannot.
While I research ambiguity aversion, I realized that the definition of uncertainty can be stretched. Uncertainty describes the “unknown”. But this changes if we do our research. Let us take an example, in 2020, I quit as a full-time developer. When I told my friends and my brother about it they were amazed. Because I quit such a high-paying job. And for what? Is a life full of uncertainty? Besides, at that time, my blog was still young and I had no other plans. My online shop was still not online, and I did not discover the life of a freelancer. So, I put myself in a world full of uncertainty.
However, while my friends only saw the bad things. I saw it full of potential. Uncertainty is the unknown. But no one knows if that is bad or good. It is both. Furthermore, it depends on how we deal with uncertainty. Is it full of bad decisions and events? Or is it full of potential and chances? We decide.
How to deal with uncertainty
In my case, I never saw this “entrepreneur life” as uncertain. Because I know what I want and what I do not want. To navigate my life in this direction seems logical to me. However, I was scared as well. Because all my today’s projects were at the beginning or not even started. Surprisingly, I knew that I must not fear. I had the feeling that in the end, everything will turn out fine. One year later, I achieved at least 50% of my goals. In my blog post about my new year’s resolution, you can read see my goals. And each of them I accomplish half of their number. It is still February by the way.
Of course, I had doubts and wanted to quit. But my purpose and sheer desire just won’t let me. So, I kept going and going. Here are the results As you know, until now I made many things. There was an online shop that I closed in 2020. Also, we almost finished working on our social media app for gamers. Ah, did I mention I published a drawing book? After finishing writing, I will continue working on some websites from a company. I will create 3 websites from them. If you know the price of a web developer freelancer, you can guess the amount of money I will receive. And also, my Instagram profile grew a bit.
If I had never embraced uncertainty, I would never have had this exciting life. What I have learned is to siege opportunity in all I do. Even though the results and outcomes are unknown.
How to deal with Uncertainty – Turn it into Risk
My secret to sticking so long in the unknown is that it was never unknown for me. One friend was eager to know if I could make good money without the 9-5 job. He asked me a lot of questions. Mostly, these questions were about my commitment and desire. So, he asked many if-questions. What if this does not work? Looking back there are many questions about my plan B. I surprised him that I did not have any at all. But all of his questions are a reflection of his doubt. Not a doubt about me, more about himself. I think he was afraid that he is going the wrong way, that his study is a wrong decision.
So, he might want me to fail because it will approve him of his decision. Or he asked so much because he was curious? Funnily enough, I have never doubted a second. The “uncertainty” was never unknown to me. Because I tried many things years before I started my new life. With the experience I received, I knew my answer. I turned uncertainty into risk. Or in other words, I turned the unknown into the known by simply researching the consequences. I already knew before I started all this what I will face. Poor, no social life, sleepless nights, doubts, and fear were the things I already include in my calculation.
And this is my secret how I deal with uncertainty. Research all possible outcomes so they become a certainty. Of course, I will continue because I invest a lot in this. Also, it is fun and exciting. So, instead of running clueless into the uncertainty, I transform it into a risk, a calculated endeavor. And like any calculated event, we know the risk and it calms us.