Thriving in Times of Uncertainty

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”

So said Benjamin Franklin in a letter he wrote back in 1789.

In the twenty-first century Franklin’s reflection still holds true – except that there is now a new addition to his list … uncertainty!

It’s human nature to find times of uncertainty disconcerting. After all, we cannot prepare for what we cannot safely predict. So, how can we best adapt to this ‘new normal’, not simply to  cope … but to thrive?

Here are five pieces of advice that draw on good life coaching practice:

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

– Margaret Drabble

thriving in times of uncertainty

Thriving in Times of Uncertainty (continued)


1. Expect the unexpected

One of the best ways to immunise yourself from the shocks and surprises that the outside world tends to dish up, is to adopt a mindset of expecting the unexpected.

When uncertainty becomes an expectation, as opposed to something from ‘left field’, fear and anxiety about the inevitable consequences will subside dramatically.

If your mindset is to expect uncertainty and your life takes an unexpected turn, you are more likely to be able to reconcile yourself to the changes that it brings on than if you have had your head in the sand pretending that life is (or should be) predictable.

Please note: The three paragraphs that follow were inserted ‘after the fact’ or, in other words, as something of an addendum to the original Blog post:

I wrote this post as I normally do on a Tuesday, ready for publishing and announcing early on Wednesday morning. I woke in the early hours of Wednesday with a strange feeling that I may have ‘tempted fate’ with this article!

Sure enough, a few hours later, I was to face a test of the validity (or sincerity) of my own advice. At 8am, as I prepared to announce this blog post, the Life Coaching Insights website did something it has never done before … it crashed … spectacularly and wholly unexpectedly!

The sinking feeling that accompanied that realisation, and the many subsequent uneasy hours spent trying to rescue the site from some faceless hacker, were offset by a comforting and somewhat humorous reflection of inner knowingness … this was the universe at work, testing my capacity for drinking my own medicine!


2. Learn to embrace the challenges of life

The effect of uncertainty is to increase the level of challenge we humans face. And challenge, very simply, is the basis for our growth and development.

If you think back to one or two of your most important achievements in life, it is likely that these will have come off the back of some of the most significant challenges you faced.

The more you embrace challenge and take it on, the more you are positively surprised by your own inner strength and ingenuity and the better prepared you are, both mentally and physically, for the next challenge. This would explain why some people rise to challenges better than others.

As you overcome challenges, you grow stronger, more capable, more confident and more resilient as a person. Instead of trying to avoid challenges you start to embrace them, realising their value.

Think of this as a ‘virtuous cycle’!


3. Give up blame and justification

Uncertainty causes things around you to change and, quite often, that change appears, at least at face value, to have a negative effect on your life.

It’s a natural human reaction to get angry and blame someone or something else for your unexpected predicament.

Equally, it is human nature to justify why you are in the situation you are in as you seek to defend your ego from potential loss of face or embarrassment.

But laying blame and justifying – though doing so may help you feel better in the short-term – does absolutely nothing to improve your situation in the longer run.

There’s a better way …


4. Take control of your life

Accept responsibility for who you are, what you are and the situation you find yourself in.

Stop giving your power away to others by blaming and justifying. Take back your power and pride by accepting that you created the life you are now leading and know that you, and only you, can change it.

This is an extremely difficult concept for most people to grasp … but when they do it can be incredibly uplifting and liberating.

Acceptance of the complete responsibility you carry for your life is key to accessing your inner power.


5. Live authentically

One of the most important benefits for those who come to accept their personal responsibility, is a new appreciation for the importance of living life doing what they love rather than what they think they should or ought to be doing.

Living authentically means being true to yourself and doing the bidding of your inner being.

When you live life in order to grow, develop and prove things to yourself, rather than to others, you develop an amazing resilience to the unpredictability of the world around you.

In fact, you begin to look at the world from a new and far more healthy perspective.

Rather than feel dread, disdain and disapproval of the constant upheaval in the world, you will come to experience wonder, appreciation and gratitude for a world in which there is infinite variety and possibility.

Believe it or not, with the right approach, living in a topsy-turvy world can actually be quite fun!


This is the official Blog for New Insights Life Coach Training. Find out more about life coaching and becoming a life coach here:



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  1. Peter
    Feb 9, 2018

    Awesome stuff! I’ve just found New Insights and I’m seriously considering a change in career to life coaching. If this is the kind of great information I will be exposed to, then hey I think I’m in good hands. Keep up the good work!

  2. Jan K Binder
    Feb 5, 2018

    What a great article Bill!
    Whilst I most definitely don’t expect life to be or become predictable (many lessons in life so far have taught me that), I am not entirely sure if referring to the unexpected as an expectation works for me. The risk I see could be that we might live with constantly ‘looking over our shoulder’ or a ‘fear’ of ‘turning the next corner’. I personally prefer to relate to the unexpected as an acceptance. Accepting the inevitability of the unexpected.
    The ability for me to live ‘rewardingly’ (positively) with this acceptance, I believe, comes 100% through each of the following 4 elements in your article:
    – Learn to embrace the challenges of life
    – Give up blame and justification
    – Take control of your life
    – Live authentically
    I am happily being taken back to Skills Training 5 🙂
    Grateful for how studying with New Insights has given “using my mind” a new and more meaningful purpose.
    Thank you Bill!
    ps. well done for ‘unhacking’ the server.

    • Bill
      Feb 5, 2018

      Lovely feedback and food for thought – thanks Jan!

  3. Annette
    Feb 3, 2018

    Bill this is so true. I recently accepted responsibility for the circumstances in my relationship and took control over my life. Difficult as it was I made the decision enough is enough and my boundries clear about what I was not willing to tolerate any more and what must change in order for things to progress. I was prepared for the consequences either way but knew this was exactly what needed to happen. This in my life and I am not going to accept second best or accept behaviours that are destructive. My happiness comes first. Took me a while to get to that point but got there I did, and I am not going backwards!

    • Bill Burridge
      Feb 4, 2018

      Good for you Anette – you brought your inner power to the fore!

  4. Debbie
    Feb 1, 2018

    Positive thinking has a powerful effect on our being. To start is a challenge, but keeping the momentum going is not easy either. By expecting the unexpected we should remember to search for the positive as well.
    I am currently going through very testing times. Your message has reminded me that it is our choice on how we view the world and the changes we experience.
    Thank you, Bill – perfect timing

    • Bill
      Feb 2, 2018

      Great stuff Debbie!

  5. Nina Cleland
    Feb 1, 2018

    Bill, you are the U.K’s Oprah.

    • Bill
      Feb 2, 2018

      I think I’m blushing!

      • Nina Cleland
        Feb 2, 2018

        I am not taking away from your Times Of Uncertainty blog but on the back of it just to say I back up my comment as for years now, a good fifteen, I have been yearning to find a teacher in England who supported what I’ve been learning from Oprah Winfrey, and ‘her’ teachers, in turning life on it’s head and using it to make a difference. You struck me in this blog that New Insights is the kind of teaching I believe in and believe we need more of. The future is here !

        • Bill
          Feb 4, 2018

          Thank you Nina!

  6. Mashilo makola
    Feb 1, 2018

    The Universe will always give you the positives and negatives. Accept both with open arms and move on

    • Bill
      Feb 4, 2018

      I think the trick is to mentally try to redefine ‘negatives’ and ‘positives’ into ‘growth challenges’ and ‘rewards’. Not easy but very empowering!

  7. Karen
    Feb 1, 2018

    The quotation by Margaret Drabble is a powerful one and your tips are extremely useful. Thank you, Bill. Next comes the crucial part…implementing them. As a result of the experience that you shared, I am convinced of the benefits of being well prepared for the “unexpected.” No matter who or what we are, we will be affected by uncertainty at least once in our lives. What I love most about New Insights is that it provides us with the tools we need to navigate our way through this miracle we call life.

    • Bill
      Feb 1, 2018

      We do our best 🙂 Thank you Karen!

  8. Charmaine
    Feb 1, 2018

    Hi Bill – Trust your website is back up and running. The universe always gives us a little clue of what’s in store for us 🙂

    • Bill
      Feb 1, 2018

      Still having problems with The Forum but this one is clearly working OK now 🙂

  9. Lindiwe
    Feb 1, 2018

    Thank you Bill. Incredible read and so relevant for me. Currently going through an uncertain scenario in my personal life. I am certainly taking the tips from this article to help me face this uncertainty. Thank you again.

    • Bill
      Feb 1, 2018

      Good luck Lindiwe!

  10. Candice Tomlinson
    Feb 1, 2018

    Thanks for this very pertinent and apt message Bill. Having relocated we are facing so much uncertainty and this came at just the right time!

    • Bill
      Feb 1, 2018

      I’m so pleased it is timeous!

  11. Rosemary Clark
    Feb 1, 2018

    Thanks Bill….well written as usual. I hope your computer is feeling better 🙂

    • Bill
      Feb 1, 2018

      Thanks Rosemary – it wasn’t a computer that crashed but the website (server was hacked)! A growing problem nowadays I’m afraid!

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