I’ve recently been studying the work of master coach Tony Robbins. Tony has no more than a high school education, but he has transformed many lives by helping people find their power amidst their trials and tribulations.
Tony believes there are six fundamental human needs, which we all find ways to satisfy in our lives. The first two human needs are certainty and uncertainty.
Yes, paradoxically we need both. Certainty corresponds to our need for safety and security, both physical and emotional. It’s our foundation for daily living. Without basic security in your life – say, someplace to go home to every night – you’d spend most of your energy trying to fill that need. You’d have little energy left for developing the more sophisticated layers of yourself.
But how would you feel if everything in your life was certain? Speaking for myself, I know I’d feel pretty stifled. That’s why Tony Robbins calls uncertainty a need. We have curious minds that crave learning and exploration, and vibrant hearts that love connection and surprise.
Or do they?
As I watched a video of Tony teaching about the need for uncertainty, he asked his audience of about two thousand, “How many of you like surprises?” Nearly every hand went up.
With his trademark gruffness, he exploded: “Bulls**t!”
“You only like surprises you want. You don’t want surprises at all if they’re not the kind you like.”
Most of us love the fun surprises: the unexpected bouquet at our door, or the pop-up birthday party organized by our coworkers. They leave us with warm feelings and fond memories.
But what about the surprises we’d never choose, like a cancer diagnosis? They blindside us. They confuse us. They scare us.
Living with the uncertainty that follows an unchosen surprise isn’t something we learn about in school. The people around us may be reeling, just as we are. It can take years to feel like we’re on solid ground again.
After cancer, it comes up in so many ways:
I’m not sure I want to follow what my doctor recommends. How do I decide what to do?
Someone I know just had a recurrence. I’m scared and I can’t get it off my mind.
I can’t get used to the way my body is –will I ever feel normal again?
How do you hold on after your world’s been upended, and certainty seems like a thing of the past?
I didn’t learn that at school, and I’d bet you didn’t either.
If riding the emotional rollercoaster of life after (or with) cancer is stealing your energy and joy, let’s talk. We can’t make the uncertainty go away completely, but we can sure get you happier and more confident despite its presence.
Believing in you, no matter what you may be facing right now-