One of the biggest challenges in the accounting and financial world is the existence of the unknown future. There is much about life we simply cannot control despite our best plans and predictions. Many outside factors either support or diminish our finances and overall wealth.
One year may be excellent, the next year disappointing. As humans, we are prone to make costly choices from time to time. Weathering our own humanity and the uncertainty of life is simply part of earthly existence.
We may feel tormented by the unknown, especially when it comes to health, relationships, and cherished goals. Of course, we want to thrive, pursue our ideas of happiness, and ensure security for our loved ones. We charge forward, quite attached to our vision for the future and hoped-for outcomes.
This is all ok, except when it doesn’t work. Despite our best efforts, we get sick, the business fails, the divorce happens, and we lose our life savings. A loved one dies. We are given a scary diagnosis. On the less extreme end, maybe we must keep the faltering vehicle for one more year. Maybe our kids don’t get into the college of their choice. Maybe the dreamt-of vacation must wait. Maybe an unwanted surgery looms, or we just cannot make the sale that would have meant so much. Maybe we are slighted by friends or betrayed in surprising and hurtful ways.
Failure and struggle are both personally difficult experiences and a universally human experience. We understandably try to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Pain naturally causes us to fear the unknown, but we are not being personally targeted when skies become stormy. It is the nature of all life to ebb and flow, to release and renew, to birth and to die.
We have only to look at nature to see that life is infinitely renewing. There is no despair amongst wild things. They simply flow with the unfolding of life, trusting the seasons and their instincts. They do not fret over future disaster or pain. They live each day fully, according to their nature, braving hardship when it comes and enjoying abundance in season.
The unknown could actually be a great friend. If you are in a losing season, your present circumstances are disappointing, or you’re unhappy with your choices, the unknown might be just what you need. When all known possibilities aren’t acceptable, we might choose to trust and embrace the unknown. Not knowing what will happen next opens us to surprising solutions.
There is no reason to think the unknown is inherently threatening. The unknown exists in the realm of all potentiality. All possibility currently exists in the unknown as a future that is unfolding in the present moment. If we allow this truth to settle into our awareness, we may feel a sense of spaciousness and hope, as if the grip of anxiety eases just a bit.
The problem is not actually that we have limited control or that the unknown includes the possibility of pain. These are simply givens.
Rather the problem is much like the proverbial two-sided coin. On the one side, we often do not know how to align ourselves with the flow of life and avoid needless suffering. On the other side, we try to avoid pain, suffering, humiliation, and heartbreak at all costs.
It’s a difficult truth, but some things are worth suffering for. Power finds its true efficacy in service to something greater, whether that be love, freedom, thriving, God, wholeness, compassion, healing, truth, or some other deeply held devotion. If suffering comes in pursuit of our highest purpose, then so be it. Fear loses its grip and power when we willingly accept pain in service of higher good. We can then gather our courage and let go of seeing ourselves as victims.
We will serve ourselves and others well if we cultivate a deep sense of openness to all possibility (this is the nature of hope) coupled with the willingness to live the gifts and challenges of each day (this is the nature of courage).
Hope and courage for life’s uncertainty, no matter the weather.