People who embrace uncertainty often avoid these 9 control traps

Graeme Richards by Graeme Richards | June 25, 2024, 2:49 pm

Navigating life’s uncertainties can be a rollercoaster ride. Some people thrive in uncertain situations, others, not so much.

Those who embrace uncertainty, they’ve mastered the art of letting go. They understand that control is often an illusion, and avoid falling into certain control traps.

Control traps are those behaviors or mindsets that make us feel we’re in control when really, we’re just compounding our stress and anxiety.

In this article titled “People who embrace uncertainty often avoid these 8 control traps,” we’ll explore these traps and how avoiding them can make you more resilient in the face of unpredictability. So, let’s get started.

1) The illusion of control

Life is full of unpredictable events and circumstances. Many of us feel the need to control these uncertainties, to try and bring some order to the chaos.

Enter the first control trap – the illusion of control.

The illusion of control is when we fall into the trap of believing that we can predict or influence outcomes that are, in reality, beyond our grasp.

This overconfidence can lead to poor decision-making, increased stress and potentially even burnout.

Those who embrace uncertainty recognize this trap. They understand that life is inherently unpredictable, and rather than trying to control everything, they focus on what they can influence and accept what they cannot.

Avoiding this trap doesn’t mean giving up on planning or not caring about outcomes. It simply means understanding the limits of our control and learning to navigate life’s uncertainties with a more flexible, adaptable mindset.

2) The perfectionism trap

Perfectionism, in my experience, is another common control trap. I used to be a perfectionist myself, constantly striving for flawlessness in everything I did.

I believed that if I could just achieve perfection, then everything would fall into place, and I would be in control of my life’s uncertainties. But this was a trap.

Chasing after perfection isn’t about achieving excellence. It’s about trying to control the uncontrollable, and it often leads to unnecessary stress, procrastination, and even self-doubt.

One day, I realized that perfection is an elusive and unrealistic goal. Instead of trying to control every detail, I started to focus on doing my best and embracing the inherent imperfections in life.

This shift in mindset wasn’t easy, but it was liberating. I found that by letting go of the need for perfection, I became more flexible, more creative, and more able to handle uncertainty.

So for those who are stuck in the perfectionism trap – remember that it’s okay not to be perfect. Embrace uncertainty and focus on doing your best instead of chasing an unattainable ideal.

3) The fear of change trap

Change is a natural part of life, yet it’s something many of us struggle with. The fear of change trap is when we resist change in an attempt to maintain control over our circumstances.

Did you know that the human brain is wired to prefer familiar situations? According to neuroscientists, our brains view the unknown as a potential threat, triggering feelings of fear and anxiety.

However, those who embrace uncertainty understand that change is inevitable and not always negative. They view change as an opportunity for growth and innovation rather than a threat.

By recognizing and avoiding the fear of change trap, you can become more adaptable, more resilient, and better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way.

4) The over-planning trap

Planning is crucial in life. It helps us set goals and determine the steps we need to take to achieve them. But there’s a fine line between effective planning and over-planning.

Over-planning is when we get so caught up in the details of our plans that we lose sight of the bigger picture. We try to account for every possible outcome, every potential hurdle. But this is simply another control trap.

Those who embrace uncertainty, they understand this. They know that while it’s important to have a plan, it’s equally important to remain flexible and adapt to changing circumstances.

The key is to plan for the future but stay open to the possibility that things might not go as expected. And guess what? That’s completely okay. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it just means you’re human and you’re capable of adapting to change.

5) The avoidance trap

When faced with uncertainty, it can be tempting to stick our heads in the sand and avoid the issue altogether. This is the avoidance trap.

Avoidance might feel like a way to maintain control, but in reality, it only amplifies our fears and prevents us from moving forward.

The individuals who thrive in uncertainty, they don’t avoid uncomfortable situations. They face them head-on, believing that the only way out is through.

By confronting rather than avoiding challenges, you gain the opportunity to learn, grow and build resilience. The avoidance trap might seem like an easy out, but it’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Embrace uncertainty and tackle those challenges head-on.

6) The expectation trap

We all have expectations. It’s part of being human. We imagine how things should be, how people should act, even how we should feel. But when reality doesn’t match these expectations, it can leave us feeling out of control.

This is the expectation trap. It can lead to disappointment, frustration, and even conflict.

But those who embrace uncertainty, they have a different approach. They understand that everyone has their own journey, their own struggles, their own dreams. They recognize that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and that’s okay.

Instead of clinging to rigid expectations, they practice acceptance and understanding. They allow space for things to unfold naturally, for people to be themselves, for life to surprise them.

And in doing so, they find a deeper sense of peace and contentment. They find that by releasing expectations, they’re better able to navigate uncertainty with grace and resilience.

So remember, while it’s natural to have expectations, don’t let them become a trap. Embrace the beauty of uncertainty and let life surprise you in its own unique way.

7) The comparison trap

In our social media-driven world, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. We see the highlight reels of other people’s lives and start to question our own. Are we doing enough? Are we successful enough?

I remember a time when I was caught in this trap. I’d look at my peers, seemingly breezing through life while I felt like I was barely keeping up. It felt like they had everything under control, while my life was shrouded in uncertainty.

But over time, I realized that this comparison was not only unhealthy but also unrealistic. Everyone has their own struggles, their own uncertainties, their own battles to fight – most of which we never see.

The truth is, no one has everything under control. Life is inherently uncertain for all of us. And that’s okay.

The comparison trap only leads to self-doubt and unhappiness. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should focus on our own journey, embrace our own uncertainties and celebrate our own unique victories. Life is not a competition – it’s a personal journey filled with ups and downs. And that’s what makes it beautiful.

8) The certainty trap

While it might seem counterintuitive, seeking constant certainty in life is indeed a control trap. Life is inherently uncertain, and trying to create a constant state of certainty is not only impossible but also draining.

Those who are comfortable with uncertainty know this all too well. They recognize that life’s unpredictability is what makes it exciting and meaningful.

By avoiding the certainty trap, they free themselves from the exhausting pursuit of absolute control. Instead, they cultivate a sense of curiosity and openness towards the future, whatever it may bring.

So remember, it’s okay not to have all the answers. Embrace life’s uncertainties and see them as opportunities for growth, learning, and new experiences. After all, it’s the unexpected twists and turns that make life an adventure.

9) The self-reliance trap

The belief that we should handle all of life’s uncertainties on our own is perhaps the most deceptive control trap of all. It’s natural to want to be independent, but no person is an island.

We’re social creatures by nature, and we thrive on connection and collaboration. By insisting on facing everything alone, we isolate ourselves and miss out on the support and insights others can offer.

Remember, seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a testament to your strength and wisdom. You acknowledge your limitations and are willing to learn and grow. So reach out, collaborate, share your fears and dreams. You’ll find that embracing uncertainty becomes a lot easier when you’re not doing it alone.

Embracing the dance with uncertainty

Navigating the landscape of life’s uncertainties can often feel like a dance. There are moments of grace, moments of stumbling, and moments where we’re unsure of the next step.

Yet, it’s in this dance where we truly grow. It’s where we learn to adapt, to be resilient, and to find peace amidst chaos.

The famous philosopher Alan Watts once said, “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

So as you move forward, remember these control traps and strive to avoid them. But also remember that it’s okay to stumble and falter. That’s part of the dance too.

In embracing uncertainty, we open ourselves up to new possibilities, new experiences, and new paths in life. It might not always be easy, but it’s a dance worth dancing.

So let’s lace up our dancing shoes and step onto the dance floor of life with courage, resilience, and an open heart. After all, it’s not about controlling the music but learning how to move with it.