Live in the now. This moment won’t last forever – enjoy it while you can! Don’t worry about it – I know you’ll be amazing! We’ve all been told these seemingly motivating and reassuring affirmations at some point in our lives. We may have even been the ones telling them. And while some moral support is always nice, it’s not always what we need. Anxiety about the future – near, close and far – can sometimes be overwhelming.
The uncertainty of the future has recently been weighing heavily on my mind. Having been a student for essentially 100% of my life, an identity crisis was to be expected once it came to an end! But I’ve come to realise, it’s a lot more complex than I thought. It’s more than knowing whether to continue in education or to get a job. It’s about considering the consequences of my actions today for my life tomorrow and in five, ten or even twenty years. And that can be daunting. But as I’ve navigated life post-graduation, I’m beginning to learn how to better deal with anxiety about the future. In a more constructive, yet realistic way than just to think It’ll be fine.
Control and Your Future
It’s easy to think of the future as an abstract, uncontrollable reality. A reality that is just getting closer and closer and you’re in the driver’s seat with no brakes. But the thing to remember is you are the architect of your future.
There will always be things you aren’t able to control. There will be things you won’t be able to predict that will impact what your future looks like. And while this can send you into a panicked frenzy, it’s important to focus on what you can control, like your approach.
The way in which we approach situations and their challenges is incredibly important. Whatever situation you find yourself in, whether you’re faced with a difficult task or you have to make a difficult decision, finding the right approach is the key to success. Considering any potential issues and their resolutions when thinking about the future will enable you to take control and be your own guide.
Lean Into Your Fear Of Failure
The uncertainty of the future can instil a deep sense of fear within us all. It can encourage us to run away and avoid it. But the only way to succeed is to try. And to create a future that you want to exist in, you have to lean into your fear of failing in order to transform it. Fear can be transformed into motivation. It can drive you to try until you succeed and discover a future you truly want to live in. Fear does not have to be a negative feeling. It doesn’t have to stop you from living your life because you spend all your time worrying about what will be.
It can be harnessed to help you explore a world of opportunities that you may not have otherwise been able to delve into. It’s okay to feel scared but the future is yours to shape. Use your fear to help shape your future instead of deter you from making it what you want it to be.
It’s too easy to think about the future and imagine the worst. As humans, it seems as though we all share a universal defence mechanism against getting our hopes up. And while it makes sense to not be overconfident without a sense of caution, our past can help soothe our fears about the future.
There have been so many times where self-doubt and worry have overwhelmed me. A job interview or even beginning a new friendship. I’ve thought and thought until my thoughts have a singular resounding notion – But what if? Fearing the uncertainty of how things will turn out – what the future will hold – is normal. But it can be difficult to deal with. And so, in an effort to deal with this anxiety, I’ve started to think about my past achievements.
Instead of focusing on all the ways a future situation could be terrible, I’ve tried to remember the good times in my past. Like when I had my internship interview and it went so well that I’ve done it for the past two years and still love it. And feel as though it’s a place I can thrive. And yet, before it was my reality, I was so scared. I didn’t want to feel as though I wasn’t good enough and so I was extremely nervous the entire week beforehand. Thinking about this and other similar scenarios has truly helped me to appeal to the logical side of my brain. It helps me remember that more times than not, the future has worked out well, as long as I worked hard and did what I could.
You’ll never get through your life without worrying about the future to some extent. Will I find the person I want to spend my life with? What if I don’t get my dream job? Will I be happy? And while some of these concerns may actually take an existential philosopher to find some sort of answer, most won’t. And they will simply be answered when your future becomes your present and eventually your past. Whatever your future holds, you don’t need to be in total control to deal with any anxiety you may feel about it. These three tips should help steer you clear of sleepless, worry-filled nights and towards a healthier relationship with the future you!