Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Dealing With Uncertainty About Your Future

Having an uncertain future is terrifying. Working towards something such as a career which is not guaranteed can feel super overwhelming and you can begin to question whether your hard work is worthwhile, whether you are good enough to succeed, whether you will end up doing something you hate rather than your goal career, etc. I am experiencing this right now! I am doing a psychology degree in the hopes of getting into a media psychology masters course and going into content creation and empowerment through media. I am doing my best to get experience AND qualifications but the uncertainty of my future can be so daunting! I am terrified of failure AND of doing well in my academics but still failing to attain my goal career! This is how I have tackled these fears to a point where I am way more focused on the present rather than worrying excessively about something that hasn't happened yet...

Accept lack of control

I know, this seems impossible! I am an utter control freak and the thought of doing this has at times felt so wrong and unnatural to me! However, in time I have realised that there are things that I cannot change no matter how hard I try and no matter how much I plan ahead. By realising that I should focus on what I can control about the present, I  am much more relaxed about the fact that I cannot completely and utterly determine and control my future! Anything could happen and while that used to terrify me, it is now almost a comforting thought!

Take steps towards what you want, no matter how small

Despite not having total control over the future, we do have some control and this depends on how hard we pursue our goals, no matter how uncertain. Although I am not certain that I will reach the career which I desperately long for, I try to make small steps towards it every day. That way, nothing I do feels like a massive waste of time, I am not dedicating everything I have to the pursuit of this one ambition. However, all of the small steps that I take will add up and add some certainty to my career path! Often, you cannot achieve everything that you want to in a single day. It takes work over time. Even small steps can build something certain! For instance, I may not have reached my career yet, but I am certain that I have built up relevant experience and I am certain that a lot of what I do, such as volunteering and even this blog, contributes towards my career. I am building something certain bit by bit until my whole path is certain. If it doesn't all work out, I have my 'certains' to fall back on.

Don't be scared to change direction

For some, the idea of change is just completely terrifying. I was always afraid that if I changed my direction then everything I have worked towards would be an absolute waste. I was planning to go into forensic psychology and I had read up the career options and had chosen a masters programme and was so set for the future. However, in the last few months, I have completely changed my direction. I want to go into media psychology and work towards creating empowering and inspiring content which encourages personal growth, the pursuit of change and the combatting of social and environmental issues. I am still working a lot on my commitments to mental health care, such as voluntarily facilitating group therapies and working towards building a mentoring scheme, but in a lot of extracurriculars, I have been focussing on more media and communication roles. Instead of dropping everything that you are already doing, try to tailor what you are already doing towards your new direction. It makes the change less daunting and means that everything you have done so far still has a purpose in your new direction.

Anchor yourself

It is important to have constants in your life with which you can anchor yourself. These can take many forms and can be a safe and certain place when you are dealing with uncertainty. No matter what happens, these anchors will be there for you to go back to. They can offer you stability and support. One form that an anchor can take is a place. For me, this place is my family home back in Wales. No matter what is happening here in Manchester, when I go back home to Wales nothing has changed. Everyone is still there and I can go on the same walks that I used to take when I was a teenager. Other anchor places can include public spaces such as libraries, museums and cafes, or private spaces such as your home, bedroom or a friend's place. Wherever this anchor is, the comfort that it can offer you in times of uncertainty can help so much!

Anchors don't have to be physical places. They can be people, such as family members, friends or mentors. People who you can go to when you need reassurance, guidance or just a chat. They can also be hobbies; something you can come back to when you need to forget about your uncertainties for a while. For me, this was always acting. No matter what was happening with my college work, university applications, friendship groups or work, I would always attend my weekly acting classes. The same people were always there and it just felt like something to come back to once a week to step out of my various stressful situations.

You don't always need a plan

Wing it! As someone who feels the need to plan absolutely everything in minute detail, the idea that something is uncertain and cannot be properly planned is awful and frustrating! Accepting that sometimes you need to just let things happen without a plan is an important part of dealing with uncertainty about the future. There's not much else I can say for this one, it's hard to let go of the fear of not having control, but so important for your mental wellbeing!


I figured that I would end this post by listing some good quotes which inspire and encourage me in times of uncertainty.

"I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few." - Brene Brown

"Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile. It can be blackened by fear and superstition." - Bernard Beckett

"I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring." - David Bowie


  1. I really liked reading this and the last bit about not always needing a plan really resonated with me. I, too, am guilty of trying to plan every little thing - which is fine most of the time, but when things don't work out, it can be a huge source of stress. I'm working on it though, and trying to give myself a break every once in a while.

    Sneha |

    1. Thank you so much! I agree, having a good break every once in a while is so important! x

  2. I loved reading this! Like you I'm an utter control freak and struggle letting go but you're right sometimes a plan isn't needed and not everything can be controlled, just have to keep on going

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and took something from it! x

  3. Quotes are a great to stay motivated! I have a bunch of good quotes saved on pinterest and I always tell myself that I would pull out my art pad and paints and illustrate them but I never do, even though I know it's a great way to relax.
    Thank you for sharing these informative tips!
    Kanra Khan

    twitter || instagram || facebook

    1. I would love to get better at illustration! I'm glad you enjoyed the post! x


Follow Me @jessistryingblog