Uncertainty is difficult.  But there is also a potential for joy in it.  After all, the joy of surprise depends on not knowing.  Take a lead from my German shepherd, Sherpa.

When we go to the park she wants to play the Stick Game.  What’s the Stick Game?  First, I find a good stick to throw.  Then, I tease her: before I throw it, I spin around like a madman, trying to psych her out with a fake throw.  For a good 10-15 seconds I pull out all tricks: as I erratically move around, I try to hide the stick behind my back, I constantly startle-stop and fake-throw in all directions. Throughout the entire time, my dog is right on me, tracking my every move, starting off in this or that direction as she tries to extrapolate the direction of the eventual throw.  She likes this simple fun.  What’s not to like?

As she is testing her hypotheses about which direction I will eventually throw the stick, she stands to either confirm her hypothesis, which is fun, or, if her hypothesis is wrong, she stands to be surprised, which, of course, is also fun.

A prediction isn’t an entitlement to a particular version of future but a mere tug-of-war with time in which we pitch the experiences of our past against the unknown of the future.  Enjoy the game of uncertainty.  Fetch yourself a moment of engaged unknowing!

ps: Sherpa is my second German shepherd; my first was Karma (1990s).

Resources on coping with uncertainty:  Present Perfect

 


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    Last reviewed: 9 Jul 2011

APA Reference
Somov, P. (2010). Joy of Uncertainty. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-living/2010/11/joy-of-uncertainty-canine-version/

 

Reinventing the Meal
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Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. is the author of The Lotus Effect, Present Perfect, The Smoke-Free Smoke Break, and Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time.


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