How to navigate our uncertain world

How to navigate our uncertain world [PMP #247]

Over the last 5 years, we’ve watched as the world has become increasingly uncertain. We’ve witnessed controversial elections, a global pandemic, lockdowns, mandates, inflation and now war. Every time I think the world is starting to get back to normal, the rug gets pulled and things get a little crazier. Personally, I think things will continue to get worse before they get better.

What can you do? How do we navigate an increasingly uncertain world?

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Focus on what you can control

This is one of the best-known lessons from the Stoics. When we only focus on things outside of our control, we feel helpless like there’s nothing we can do. And this applies to all of the crazy things that have happened in the last few years. We’ve had to do as we’re told even if we don’t agree with what’s being asked of us. This is why we’re experiencing more and more social unrest. People have had enough.

Instead, when you focus on what you can control, you feel more empowered, like you have more agency over your life.

You can control your attitude, your health, habits, routines, your work, your time, what you spend money on, your investments and where you live. When you stop and think, there’s actually an awful lot you can control. This is where I recommend allocating your time and energy.

Stay informed

Now even though I can’t control a lot of what’s going on, I do like to stay informed on the economy and the geopolitical environment. By keeping up to date with what’s going on, I can decide how to react and how best to prepare myself and my family for any big changes.

Inflation has become a hot topic in the last 6 months. But as a Bitcoiner, I feel like we’ve I’ve been preparing for this for years. At the start of the COVID pandemic, when governments began stimulating the economy, the Bitcoin community was quick to sound the alarm as to what this would mean long-term. At this time I had been buying Bitcoin personally for a few years but I decided to start investing my company's profit into Bitcoin as well.

Over the next 10 years, we’re going to watch as the world continues to change in a big way. New technologies like blockchain, virtual reality and the metaverse are going to completely change how we live and work in this world. Governments are going to have to adapt as citizens become more distrusting of their leaders. Climate change and inflation are going to continue to be big issues that affect our cost of living and even our safety.

Staying informed will help you to mitigate any threats and take advantage of the opportunities.

Invest in yourself

Investing in yourself should always be a priority but even more so during times of uncertainty.

I recommend investing in your health and wellness. Aim to exercise 3-4 times a week, eat well and make sure you get plenty of sleep.

Invest in your education. Learn about new technologies. Develop a new skill and keep up with trends in your industry.

Invest in your relationships. Spend time helping friends and family to navigate these uncertain times. It’s a proven fact that helping others improves our own happiness. Your relationships and personal network is a great asset you can leverage when times get tough.

And don’t forget to look after your mental health and happiness. Meditation and journaling are great habits that can help you to destress, develop perspective and improve self-awareness.

Diversify your income

So much of the uncertainty we’re all feeling right now centres around the cost of living and how the economy is going to recover from the pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Budgeting can help a bit but there’s a limit to how much you can save. One of the best lessons I took away from Ramit Sethi’s book, I Will Tech You to be Rich, is that there’s a limit on how much you can save but no limit on what you can earn.

If you’re a full-time salaried employee, think about starting a small side-hustle. Having a few extra dollars gives you options. It’ll help with the rising cost of living and may give you a little free cash to invest while the market is down.

If you’re a business owner like me, take a look at your revenue streams to work out what can be improved. While consulting makes up the majority of my income, even if this all went away, I could still look after my family using the affiliate income, YouTube revenue and other bits of income that I earn.

The big takeaway here is to not put all your eggs in one basket.

Appreciate what's going well

Even though the world is a strange place to live right now, I’m hopeful for the future. The Fourth Turning (affiliate link) by William Strauss looks at how throughout history the world has developed in cycles that last about 80 years:

First comes a High, a period of confident expansion as a new order takes root after the old has been swept away. Next comes an Awakening, a time of spiritual exploration and rebellion against the now-established order. Then comes an Unraveling, an increasingly troubled era in which individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions. Last comes a Crisis – the Fourth Turning – when society passes through a great and perilous gate in history. Together, the four turnings comprise history's seasonal rhythm of growth, maturation, entropy, and rebirth.

I believe we’re witnessing the fourth turning now. While the next few years may be tricky, there is light and a new beginning on the horizon.

For now, appreciating what you have and what’s going well will help you to weather the storm. As mentioned, journaling and meditation are particularly useful practices here.

I hope this has been a useful post to read. Tell me, what do you do to help deal with uncertainty, leave me a comment below!