Familiarity breeds contempt. Perhaps you have heard that old rag once before. Maybe you haven’t. However, that truth is at the root of how we eliminate the fear associated with uncertainty. It is one way we help create sustainability in uncertainty. In this post we will investigate a couple of suggested patterns to help you eliminate or control the fears you identified in your plan for dealing with your situation.
We will start with familiarity. The pattern for dealing with fear that I suggest the most is practice. Take the plan you have already started and look at the areas you identified as possible stress factors. If you already have an idea how to deal with the situation in your plan, establish a time when you will practice this one part of your plan. An example of this from our emergency scenario may be collecting water. In your plan you may indicate that getting water if you have none is a stress factor. In your plan you may have included a list of ways you can collect water in case you have no water. You should select each way you identified in your plan and practice it. Try one at a time if you feel uncomfortable. Practice it until you are so familiar with it that you no longer fear it. You may also identify ideas in your plan that just don’t work or you cannot accomplish. This is what practice is for, familiarization and verification.
Now, a warning about practicing. You may feel awkward practicing these things. You may worry what your neighbor may think. I leave that worry up to you, but are you willing to risk your safety or even your life on it? If you don’t practice the things that make you afraid you can never eliminate the fear. It will not go away on its own.
If you do not have a defined way for handling a situation in your plan, circle back with it. Identify ways for handling each one. Then return to practice to become familiar with each technique.
I feel practice is the best pattern for handling fear and becoming comfortable. In addition to practice, consider finding a like minded person to share your fear with, or what I call partnering. Much like we did with practice, take your plan or partial plan and find someone who wants to overcome their own fears. Share your ideas with them. You may even share your practice with them. This will give you two types of reassurance. First, it will give you the reassurance that you are not alone in your fears. Second, it will give you reassurance that you have a solution when they see and potentially help you change your plan of action.
With partnering, be careful that you don’t skip practice. Even if you partner with someone and you start to feel better that you have a plan, you still need to practice. Even if you have a backup stove in your kit and your partner agrees that it is a good choice, not knowing how to use it makes it useless to both of you in an emergency.
If you can apply these two patterns, practicing and partnering, you will move your comfort with uncertainty and your plan for handling it forward. An added benefit of both patterns is that you will discover things you didn’t think about. This will help improve you plan. It will potentially change your plan. If it does, simply add those items to your plan and go back through this process again with those changes. No plan is ever perfect. Planning never ends. You will always be improving and changing your level of readiness.
One final warning. You will have failures in your practice. Do not let those stumbles get you down. If you are able to partner with someone else, they can help you learn from those failures. That is what failures are for. If it were easy, you would not have marked it as a stress factor. Let yourself discover in your practice and lean on your partner to help you learn through your and their failures.
Familiarity with each area of your plan will give you the comfort that you know how to handle uncertainty. Also, having practiced your solutions for these areas may give you tools to apply in other similar situations. Build your muscles through practice so that you are ready for the uncertainty.