01 August 2019

Zones of Uncertainty

Vineet Nayar

This story starts in my school with my geography teacher. My school was in the foothills of the Himalayas, which we could see on the other side of the school. One day our teacher took us out and asked, "What do you see beyond the mountains?" We looked at the mountains and gave all kinds of crazy answers. After about ten minutes it was quite clear that we didn’t have a clue of what she was looking for or what was beyond the mountains. Then she told us "let's go back in and study and find out what is beyond the mountains," and that's how I remember the Himalayas and how I studied it.

That's a very interesting way of taking charge of a thought and starting a journey of discovery. This fits in pretty well with what I wanted to say about taking charge of your life through zones of uncertainty. So what do you do when there is a zone of uncertainty in life? I have faced zones of uncertainty very often and I am sure this is true with all of us.

I am reminded of wood drifting down the river being extremely comfortable with the zone of uncertainty in terms of where the bend of the river will go. And the wood drifts till it reaches the shore and then it stays at the shore. Whereas the stone, which is seeking higher certainty - it's a metaphor - sinks because it wants to stay put in that particular place. It is not allowing itself to float and discover the right place, unless there is an external force of the high current, which rolls the stone down the river.

When I look at this example, I feel that most of us are like the stones, when we reach zones of certainty we know how to run our lives, hopefully. But when we reach a zone of uncertainty, we try very hard to find certainty in that uncertainty. Maybe the right way to take control of your life is to allow yourself to drift because I believe that the reason we have instincts is that logical minds are not the only sense organs we need to use to take charge of our life, and do what we want to do.

There are feelings, experiences, and instincts. At zones of uncertainty if we let things drift and let things be for some time, then as soon as we spot the shore, I am sure we will swim hard to get to the shore. 

So, I believe that times of uncertainty is the time to drift, take it easy for a bit, and then as soon as your instincts tell you that the time is right, start swimming hard by taking charge of your life.