Predictability vs. Ambiguity

As I’ve made some changes in my life recently, I’ve had the opportunity to consider the relationship between the predictability we all seek and the ambiguity that is inherent in change or progress.

We can’t know everything that’s going to happen as a result of a decision we make to change our circumstances. We can research and analyze, pray and prophesize, calculate and postulate, but the scope and nature of our decisions’ unintended consequences and actual outcomes is often unknown to us until much later.

Ambiguity is an inherent part of risk, and risk is an inherent part of personal growth and social progress. When we decide to leave the security of our job and open a new business, we can’t really know if we’re going to success or fail. When we give the masses the right to vote after years of dictatorship or oppression, we can’t know if they’ll be successful in making wise decisions…and be better off in the long run.

And while steady steps within predictable parameters yielding consistent results is a time-tested method to make improve our lives or society, every once in a while, we have to embrace risk, and with it, ambiguity.

It is the unknown, what lies just beyond the clear, visible distance ahead, that sparks our excitement…and stokes our fears.

But it is, in the end, an essential part of living a full life. For the exhilaration that we feel when we succeed and the agony that we experience when we fail are but two sides of the same coin.

It is in the doing that we flourish.

So go forth. Risk wisely. Live fully.

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One thought on “Predictability vs. Ambiguity

  1. So true. The comfort zone is where dreams go to die. I personally learned this years ago when I joined an organization full of people who I felt were more confident and accomplished than I was. It was hard and awkward. One of those people wound up taking an interest in me professionally and it opened up a career path that is still benefitting me to this day. I still make it a practice to challenge myself constantly. If you’re not terrified 10 to 20 percent of the time, or at least severely uncomfortable, you’re missing out.

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