The Importance of Uncertainty

Ever since I started college and the reality of achieving my pre-med dreams hit me, my burning desire to know what the future holds continues to grow by the day. The whole concept of the future itself has become a lot more real given that the choices I make right now have a great impact on how my life could proceed. I’m sure you’re also wondering what lies ahead and how to prepare for the outcomes. Well guess what? You can’t. None of us can. 

We all want to know what to expect in life whether it’s the career we end up with or even if we’ll still maintain our current friendships within the next 20 years. It’s essentially impossible for us humans to tame our innate curiosity because we just want to KNOW. Because knowing information is what keeps us safe. Our drive to seek knowledge exists as a means of seeking reassurance that everything will be okay and lets us hold on to something substantial as the world around us is constantly changing. 

Think about it — why do people choose to learn? Because learning gives us a sense of control over our lives as we're able to escape the dangers of ignorance. Our desire to learn is what keeps us moving forward and allows us to grow in ways we never could if we remained in the same spot. Our willingness to develop an open mind is what prevents us from developing hate towards others that stems from insecurity and fear of the unknown. 

Similarly, our curiosity is equally directed towards the path our lives take. But, interestingly enough, for a species that progresses on the basis of curiosity, we have no clue what our future holds. And I don’t necessarily think that’s the worst thing. For example, if you already knew the ending of a book, I doubt it would be as enjoyable reading until the end with the result already imprinted in your mind. The same goes for our lives. Face it, if we knew everything that happened in our life, would we still have the same drive to succeed? If you already knew you landed the dream job, would you work as hard as you are now? I doubt my friends and I would be putting in as much effort and late nights if we had the knowledge of what our future looks like. This uncertainty of what the future holds pushes us to give our best shot in pursuit of our dreams because we can’t be safe and reassured that everything will work out in our favor. It’s our job to get what we want in our life and the thought of not knowing our future is a gift we should appreciate as it should only push us to keep trying harder. 

I’ll leave you with a final piece of advice: yes, we should all work hard towards our goals in life; however, don’t let obsessing over the end result overcome your ability to enjoy the present. Whether it’s taking study breaks to cook, ordering Hot Box cookies, or even getting free doughnuts around campus (I’m realizing just how many of my activities involve the consumption of food), it’s these small moments that I will remember in the future. We should all appreciate the journey because that’s what we’ll remember the most when we reflect back on our life. Otherwise, what’s the point of being in this world if all we ever do is obsess over a future we know nothing about and disregard the beauty of the present?