For most people, dealing with uncertainty in a situation that they cannot control is challenging. Moreover, trying to cling onto some semblance of stability and certainty, especially where plans are concerned, can be detrimental to our mental health. So, what is the best way to deal with uncertainty?
Uncertainty before and after amputation
Caroline Mohr, an ex-golfer, struggled with this issue in 2011. The Swedish national was a promising amateur golfer, and she had her eyes set on turning professional. During a checkup, Mohr discovered that she had chondrosarcoma. Amputation of her right leg was the only option to prevent her cancer from spreading.
The news shook her, but she responded beautifully. She set her sights on preparing for the journey ahead, which meant not just the operation but also the extensive rehabilitation process that would follow.
After her surgery, she was in pain, but she had hope. Mohr’s mental preparation helped. She soon set herself a grand target to compete in the national championships just two and a half months after surgery.
People around her were not as supportive as she hoped they would be. They did not believe she was capable of meeting her target goal. Instead of dwelling on the negativity, Mohr found inspiration from another amputee. By the time the tournament rolled around, she did not only compete, but she also exceeded expectations by making birdie at the first hole.
Uncertainty in a new world
Today, Mohr uses her journey to help others learn how to overcome any challenge as well as provide hope for the future. Multinational companies invite her to speak and motivate their workforce.
In an interview with Forbes, Mohr showed the parallels between her trials and the current restrictions imposed by the new coronavirus. Both are characterized by uncertainty and vulnerability.
She understood that at the first stage of shock, people turned to massive news consumption. While a certain amount of knowledge is good, too much only feeds the collective fear. Mohr recommends finding routines that work for you. Having one grounds you; it gives you something to hold on to, a space to ease the pressure, and even find time to cultivate motivation. This is the first step to dealing with uncertainty.
She emphasized that there is an opportunity to make something out of this time—it can lead to perspective. She likened it to the time when she struggled with cancer. While it caused her numerous painful moments, it also gave her the greatest insights about life.
It’s crucial not to give in to the victim mindset. Instead, Mohr recommends being a leader of whatever situation you are in. This was what she did in the days leading up to her amputation, as well as during her rehabilitation journey.
Mohr stressed that the weight of the information available to everyone right now could be paralyzing. The key to preventing overwhelm is to develop the ability to zoom in and out. On the one hand, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the fact that almost everything is out of your control; on the other, you are still in charge of your emotions and thoughts. Achieving this balance in perspective will keep you from spiraling out of control.
While almost everyone has the end of the lockdown in sight, Mohr warns against focusing too much on short-term goals or one specific goal. After she met her dream of competing in the golf tournament, she found herself at a loss. She felt like she had nothing else.The pandemic is changing everyone. This is why it’s essential to have long-term goals beyond the end of the current situation. It is crucial to have something important to live for after the short-term goal is met. After all, there is still a future. We need to be ready for it.