There is great adventure in the unknown that propels us to discover powerful parts of ourselves that we didn't know were there.

As I write this article, my eyes focus on the cover of our leading news magazines. They tell us that ANXIETY is the number one issue at the moment. Time Magazine calls us "America the Anxious". And it is true. We are an anxious fact, we are an anxious world.

There is no question that uncertainty seems to have increased dramatically in the last few years. We worry about terrorism. We worry about going to war. We worry about losing our jobs. We worry about the dangers confronting our children. And on and on and on.

This worry is understandable, given the state of the world at the present time, but there is no question in my mind that, given the right tools...

-all of us can rise above any situation that life hands us...
-all of us can live a fulfilling life in the middle of the turmoil...
-all of us can find a sense of peace and purpose.

My newest book, Embracing Uncertainty, was written to give you "the right tools" to help you see the world in a more life-affirming and powerful way. Here, to get you started, is a taste of a few of the many tools I include in the book...

---"UN-SET" YOUR HEART. Un-setting your heart means letting go of your picture of how you want it all to be. It means letting go of trying to control things over which you have no control. Trust me when I tell you that one of the prime causes of our suffering is our wanting things to be different than they are. Yes, we all want a peaceful world instead of a world filled with weapons of mass destruction. Yes, we all want health instead of illness. Yes, we all want healthy, happy children instead of children who break our hearts. But sometimes life doesn't hand us what we want. And when we un-set our hearts to our needing it all to be a certain way, we can breathe a sigh of relief and open the door to a more powerful way of living.

---CREATE A "WONDERING" LIFE INSTEAD OF A "HOPING" LIFE. It helps us un-set our hearts when we substitute the words "I hope" with the words "I wonder". Let me demonstrate. Instead of "I hope we don't go to war", make it "I wonder if we'll go to war." Instead of "I hope the stock market goes up", make it "I wonder if the stock market will go up." Instead of "I hope I keep my job", make it "I wonder if I'll keep my job." Notice the relief in this simple shift. Instead of placing yourself in the middle of the drama with your hopes, wishes, wants and desires, you have placed yourself in the role of observer of how it will all turn if you were watching a good movie unfold. "How interesting. I wonder what comes next."

---CHOOSE THE PATH OF TRUST. What do I mean by "choosing the path of trust?" When you fully understand that you have little control in the external world, you then have two choices: you can choose to see yourself as a "poor-me" victim at the mercy of circumstances...or you can choose to develop the trust that, no matter what happens in your life or in the world, you will have the inner strength to create something good from it all. Hopefully you will choose the latter!

---INCREASE YOUR INNER SENSE OF POWER. One way to help you develop trust in yourself is to cut off the negativity in the mind by saying to yourself over and over again, "Whatever happens in my life, I'll handle it!" Those of you who know my work know that it is one of my favorite affirmations! I suggest you emblazon this powerful affirmation in your mind. If you say it often enough, you will ultimately believe it! And if you really believe that you can handle anything that happens in your life and in the world, what could you possibly have to fear? Nothing!

So when the "what-if's" are driving you mad, simply cut them off by saying over and over again, "Whatever happens, I'll handle it!" You'll feel a sense of confidence wash over you. "What if we go to war? I'll handle it!" "What if I lose my job? I'll handle it." "What if my children have difficult times? I'll handle it."

"Whatever happens in my life, I'll handle it!"

Powerful, indeed!

---COLLECT "HEROES" WHO HAVE LEARNED TO HANDLE IT ALL. Heroes to me are people who have created much good in this world as a result of horrible experiences in their lives. A few heroes come to mind: Christopher Reeve, who created so much good as a result of his paralyzing accident; Viktor Frankl, who created so much good out of his experience in a concentration camp; Ram Dass, who created so much good as a result of his debilitating stroke; Marc Klaas, who created so much good after the murder of his daughter. And I could go on and on and on. As you collect heroes, you understand this important thought,

"If they can learn and grow from their experiences, I certainly can learn and grow from mine!"

As you collect your heroes...your are filled with trust and your worry about the future gets smaller and smaller. Whew!

---FOCUS ON THE LEARNING THAT CAN COME FROM ANY SITUATION IN YOUR LIFE. Yes, you can learn and find strength from ANYTHING that happens to you, just as the above heroes have done. I certainly learned from and found strength as a result of my own experiences with cancer and my divorce from my first husband. If you see ALL situations in life as a way of learning and growing, it helps you let go of your need for things to be a certain way...

War............a way of learning
Peace..........a way of learning
Illness..........a way of learning
Health..........a way of learning
Poverty........a way of learning
Wealth.........a way of learning
Depression.....a way of learning
Joy.............a way of learning

So despite what is happening in your life and in the world, constantly remind yourself "I CAN LEARN FROM THIS." When you can see the opportunities inherent in ALL situations...good or truly helps you embrace all the uncertainty in your life.

---EMBRACE THE THOUGHT "IT'S ALL HAPPENING PERFECTLY." This is another affirmation I use over and over again. And it truly helps me let go of my needing things to be a certain way. "Susan, how can things be happening perfectly when there is possibility of war, terrorism, illness, poverty, and violence?" My answer to that is we cannot know the Grand Design, the great mystery of it all, and as we say "It's all happening perfectly", we begin looking for the "good" in any situation that life hands us. And when we look for the good, WE ALWAYS FIND IT. Yes, so much good can come from so much that is bad. In that, it truly is happening perfectly.

So when things seem very difficult in your life or in the world, just keep repeating this reassuring statement over and over again until it becomes an automatic part of your thinking. I have this affirmation sitting on my desk and whenever things seem to be going badly, I look at these reassuring words and repeat them over and over again.

It's all happening perfectly!
It's all happening perfectly!
It's all happening perfectly!

This phrase always helps me to have trust, not only in myself, but also "the Grand Design."

---FOCUS ON THE RICHES. I have learned from my heroes that, no matter how horrible life may seem on the outside, it is so important to focus on the beauty. As we go about our daily lives, we take so many wonderful things for granted. It's now time to notice. Strangely, this is hard to do, especially when we have our eyes focused on the bad. It sounds ridiculous, but we actually have to train ourselves to notice all the beauty in our lives! And train ourselves, we must...because focusing on the blessings is an absolute necessity for diffusing our fears about the future.

A suggestion: As you go about your day, stop for a moment and notice when something wonderful happens. Then say to yourself while still in the glory of the moment, "I HAVE HAD THIS." This is the acknowledgement that "No matter what happens tomorrow, I have had this today." Notice the little things, for it is in the noticing of the little things that you truly get the feeling of a life well-lived...that wonderful hot shower, that kiss from a loved one, the fact that your car started, that great dinner you are eating, the warm rays of the sun, a candy bar, a wonderful television show...and on and on and on.

You can write your I HAVE HAD THIS moments on little slips of paper and at the end of the day put them into your I HAVE HAD THIS jar--which is simply a clear glass jar with a sticker that says I HAVE HAD THIS. In a very short time, you will see your riches add up to a life well-lived. In fact, you will have to get a bigger jar! When that happens, you truly begin to lose the sense that life is passing you by. Instead, you are walking right along with life and gathering all that it has to offer. You are not missing a thing. It stands to reason that you worry less and less about the future as you appreciate life to its fullest NOW!

---GET INVOLVED. Positive action has an amazing effect on our psyche. As we take action, we begin to feel more powerful and our fear about the future decreases considerably. Keep repeating to yourself...

"My life has meaning and I will do whatever I can to make this a better world."

Then: 1) ask yourself, "What am I asked to do?"; 2) make a list of what comes to mind, and 3) begin taking action. When you remember that your life has meaning, it makes it so much easier to push through the fear and live a life that matters. And your self-esteem grows and grows. Just as importantly, you will have found the secret of creating a joyous and fulfilling life.

The above offers you a great way to begin. You can learn much more about these tools (and many others) at "the source"--Embracing Uncertainty. As you make these tools a part of your daily life...

-you experience a whole new sense of purpose emerging from within...
-you begin to trust that you are more powerful than you could ever have imagined...
-And, while enjoying the present, you look forward to the future with an attitude of great possibility--for yourself and for your world.

I think you'll agree that it doesn't get any better than that!

© Susan Jeffers 2003
Adapted from Embracing Uncertainty

Author's Bio: 

BIOSusan Jeffers, Ph.D. is considered one of the top self-help authors in the world. Her books have been published in over 100 countries and translated into at least 30 different languages. Feel the Fear and Do It, Anyway launched her career as a best-selling author. Some of her many other titles include Feel the Fear and Beyond, End the Struggle and Dance With Life, and Opening Our Hearts to Men. Her newest book, Embracing Uncertainty, is now making its way around the world. Filled with the tools we all need to help us through these tense, dangerous and worrisome times, it has already been nominated for an award in the UK. Susan is also a popular public speaker and media personality. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, CA. Visit