Fear of the unknown has a way of playing with our minds and causing us to become filled with fear, uncertainty, doubt and a build up of stress, but as Buddha is quoted above, this doesn’t have to be the case if we can control our thoughts.
Events that are outside of our control can create a sense of panic and fear of the unknown. The reality is the only thing we truly have control over one hundred percent of the time is how we carry ourselves, how we respond to each situation and how we perceive what is going on.
For example, when driving on a stretch of interstate we’ve never navigated before, one that is full of curves, hills and valleys, we are never quite sure what will be around the next corner, but just as we continue to drive forward to see what is around the bend, we must stride forward in our lives to see what it is we are facing. Only when we know what we are up against can we create a strategy to overcome it.
After all, when we spend time worrying, it is a combination of knowing something is outside of our control and not having the experience or knowledge to be certain of what will occur. But what does worry really achieve? Nothing.
The moment you find yourself worrying about any given situation – a relationship, money, a job, etc – use it as an indicator to become more educated on what you don’t know. Fearful of losing your job? Start acquiring more and necessary skills that are invaluable. Worried about retirement? Start cutting your spending and looking into how to better invest your money. Not sure you should trust someone? Slow down and get to know them better before you share yourself.
Knowledge and experience is power and immediately eliminates worry and the unknowns. It is true – we will never be able to control or know everything, but we can equip ourselves to the best of our ability by seeking out the necessary resources.
After you are well on the path to gaining as much experience and knowledge as you can, it is now your responsibility to control your thoughts. First and foremost, don’t create more problems, instead consistently practice habits that are moving you in a positive direction. Second, focus on today and doing your best in the moment. No matter how mundane the task may be, do your best. Proceed with confidence even if you might be a bit unsure. Arthur Ashe reminds us that appearances have power:
And as long as you are (1) doing your best and (2) working to put yourself in the best position possible with knowledge and learning from past experiences, then you can let go because you are doing all that is in your power. Ironically, the funny thing is, you will feel more in control when your palm is open expressing confidence than you will when you hold on with desperation.