Embracing Uncertainty

By Rehema Bashir ~ Creative Director at BookMart on 17 Apr 2020Youth


Uncertainty brings with it discomfort. Human beings love being in control of our plans, surroundings and our actions, and when that does not happen we lose it and become bitter. We often more times than not fear uncertainty because we do not have the life skills to navigate through it. With the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever people are looking into finding out what is in store for us today, tomorrow or the next month. But what we crave is an illusion that is luring us to false sense of security.

This month I was to start a new job in another city. I was excited to start afresh in a new environment. A few days before I could start my journey, the Prime Minister in Tanzania announced the closure of schools and large gatherings, there went my dream job with the announcement. A week later, I was called for an interview with another company that went extremely well and I loved everything about it.

Now the question was, if I am called for work by this new employer, do I turn the opportunity down because of the job I had already signed that is under indefinite closure? What if I turned it down and lost both of them?

Think about how many people out there are in the similar dilemma. What is currently going on in their mind? More people are out there not knowing what this current state means or what the future looks like.

But do you know that most successful people in life became successful through navigating uncertainty? That through chaos is when they found a breakthrough? They would similarly say something like "It was sink or swim, and sinking wasn't an option".

So how do you actually navigate the current situation and make it bearable? Through resilience, restoration, relinquishment, reconciliation and skilling.

How do you march on knowing what you know now? What do you need to let go of? What do you need to restore? Look around you, is it the people weighing you down? or your habits stopping you from reaching your potential? Start being selective of the things you do. Make peace with your past, present and future.

More importantly, what skills can you use right now to help you navigate? I learnt this the hard way when I was at University, from losing my scholarship in the second year to having indefinite closures due to students strikes. The course that was to take me 4 years took me 6 years to complete. We have students in the streets right now not knowing what the future holds, people who have lost their jobs or given unpaid leave. It’s tough, but so are you! Start learning those skills and practice them. Everything that is happening is happening for you and not against you. If I had not gone through what I went through, I probably wouldn’t have attempted all the business ventures that were part of my learning process. Soft and hard skills will make you relevant at this time. Even employers are going to be looking for exceptional skills and letting go of team members who cannot upskill. With your mindset in check using the above tips, it’s time to shine. Do a research on the current skills that you have and what the market needs and adjust accordingly.  Life will have to go on; many businesses will close but at the same time many businesses will remain open and new businesses will sprout, and you want to make sure you were changing with the tides.

Take care of your mental health. Remember, every one of us no matter where we are from at one point or another we get visited by the feelings of hopelessness. But that is not going to stop us from living, the world is not stopping.

Poet Antonio Machado artfully captures the nature of uncertainty’s benefits in a beautiful language.

Wanderer, your footsteps are

the path and nothing else;

wanderer, there is no path,

The path is made by walking

So think about the current situation as your chance to make your own path and create opportunities for others. Cheers.


By Rehema Bashir ~ Creative Director at BookMart