Update on Learning to Live With Uncertainty

About 8 months ago now I decided to leave the comfort of a stable job in Sweden and throw myself into the unknown. Since then I’ve attended the Recurse Center, moved to and made friends around Berkeley, California, and taken an AI Safety course at the Center for AI Safety.

Let’s take a look at what I feel I’ve learned.

Curiosity Can Arise Unexpectedly

In my mind, I’ve in the past always thought “If I’m not curios about something now, I might as well not learn more about it”. THIS IS SUCH A BAD IDEA. Labeling something so early on is incredibly limiting. I’ve encountered so many things the last half year that I initially thought nothing of, but turned out to be an immense source of joy.

I still don’t believe in forcing things for an extended period of time if unnecessary, but I do want to learn to give things a try more often, curiosity can arise unexpectedly!

Talk With Someone

In the middle of this experiment, I started going to therapy-like coaching with Harry Taussig after finding him through the Tee Barnet Coach Training Program. I’m so happy I made this decision. The focus so far has been on exploring a psychotherapy method called Internal Family Systems. My main takeaway has been that the brain and emotions are weird.

What I’ve started to learn, is that I do with my day what the sum of all the small parts within me want. There is nothing inherently wrong with any individual part and they all serve a purpose, but sometimes the parts fight. When they do, they sometimes use other parts to get what they want.

When my “you should be productive” part is angry at my “I just want to chill” part, the “I just want to chill” part has realized it can call in the “self-hatred” part to increase the likelihood of me staying in bed watching movies.

Recognizing this has for me been very calming. There is still a long ways to go, but this has made me realize how controlling emotions can be, and how freeing it can be to understand them better. It has cemented the idea in my mind that spending a little bit on therapy or coaching is so much more worth it than most physical luxuries.

I Still Totally Suck at Living with Uncertainty

There is no other way of putting it. I’ve overall felt more anxious and unsure of myself than ever before. I have far to much of the worry and “imagine worst case scenario” gene than what is productive for a human in modern society.

At the same time, the last five months have been nothing but transformative for me. It was a long time ago - if ever - that I’ve felt my world view changing at the speed it has been during this time. I’ve felt overwhelmed at times, and do hope to stabilize somewhat soon, but I’ve also enjoyed it immensely.

Even if it’s slow, I do feel a sense of peace starting to take shape on good days: things are okay, my worst fears rarely turn out to be true, and I’m growing - what else could ever be more important?