Three lessons on handling uncertainty like an artist


Sketch of man

Sketch by Karen L. Thomas

Uncertainty. It’s an aspect of life that can bring on anxiety, excitement, or both. Some embrace it, others fear it, but nobody goes through life with experiencing it. Many artists are known to embrace uncertainty in their lives. Artists tend to view it differently than scientists and other people. Sometimes it’s the subject of our work and other times the catalyst behind why we do what we do.

When I’m creating, my work passes through three distinct phases: the initial rush of excitement over the idea, the long period of uncertainty during creation, and acceptance of the final product. Sometimes you’ll love it in the end and other times you won’t. The trick is to not be attached to the outcome and learn to handle the middle period of uncertainty.

Here are three  lessons I’ve learned from embracing the mysterious middle stage of uncertainty:

  1. Nothing is impossible. It’s a limiting belief to think that something can’t be done. Our world is filled with inventions that were once deemed silly or impossible. If you need more proof, study nature. Nature always seems to find to a way to live and grow against the odds.
  2. Every change has within it an opportunity and the seeds of hope. Change and uncertainty seem to always be nearby each other. For me, change means the opportunity to rise above and grow into something more wonderful than exists today. Something that is bad on the surface may be a blessing.
  3. The journey and where it leads can be more enjoyable than the destination. We typically spend more time getting to a place in life than being at it. Why not enjoy the ride? If you find the destination is not what you thought, at least you had fun getting there.

When you are experiencing uncertainty, you can’t be 100% precise in your actions, know completely the direction something is going in, or know how fast it will get there. The artist interferes with this process by their actions. This interference always changes and alters the direction and speed. Realizing this and applying the three lessons can enable you to embrace and co-create with changing, uncertain environments as an artist.

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2 thoughts on “Three lessons on handling uncertainty like an artist

  1. Pingback: Capitalizing on New Opportunities | Karen L. Thomas

  2. Pingback: Embracing sudden changes | Karen L. Thomas

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