Living with Too Much Uncertainty and a Fear of Commitment

overlooking Lanikai Beach, Oahu

 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and journaling lately, and I’ve realized two things:

  1. I have WAY too much uncertainty in my life.
  2. I have a fear of commitment.

Let me explain…

 

In the recent “Discover Your Soul’s Goals” class with Mastin Kipp, he talked about our Psychological Needs, and the first two are (yup, you guessed it):

  • Certainty – the need to be safe and comfortable
  • Uncertainty (aka Variety) – the need for physical and mental stimulation

 

Now most people have the challenge of too much certainty—they have a roof over their head, money in the bank, food in the fridge, etc., and after a while everything can become a little boring as one can almost predict what is going to happen next (where’s the fun in that?!).

I, on the other hand, have the exact opposite challenge; for me, too much is up in the air!

Mastin said that the quality of your life is directly related to how much Uncertainty you can constantly live with.

Quick questions –> where are you valuing certainty over uncertainty in your life? What do you feel uncertain about?

 

Here are a few unknowns in my life:

  1. Where am I sleeping?
  2. Where will I next eat?
  3. How will I generate income?

Yeah, this is pretty much the stuff that everyone else is looking to figure out for the long-term; meanwhile, I’m juggling these questions on almost a daily basis. Ha!

Sometimes fun, sometimes…not so fun. :)

So I think it’s time to bring a bit more certainty into my life.

It’s not that I’m done with being a nomad (far from it)—it’s just that to keep me sane (and to allow me to develop some creative projects), I can’t be thinking about all these questions all the time. This takes more time and energy than I’m looking to utilize at this point in my life.

I’m looking to get a handle on at least 2 out of the 3—I feel like that would put me in a pretty good place.

To be honest, I’m actually OK with the “eat” question—to me, that’s part of the adventure and fun, and because I’m very clear on what I will and will not eat (and given the fact that I live in a country where good food is just about abundant everywhere), leaving this topic “open” suits me.

So that leaves the “sleeping” and “income” issues…

 

What does this look like in the short term?

I’m planning to live in Los Angeles from February-June 2013 so that I can focus on a few, specific projects. This will be the longest I’ve stayed anywhere since I began traveling 2+ years ago, and definitely the longest “plan” I’ve made.

Now I still don’t know where I’m going to stay: I’m actually looking for housesitting gigs and/or guest rooms; I pretty awesome in the kitchen and on the web, and I’m great with kids and pets—it’s a win-win-win! :)

The reality is (and it’s certainly looking that way) I may need to string together a bunch of things (including random couchsurfing), but that is part of the adventure and I almost always meet very rad people in the process.

Why LA?

Yes, I know lots of people there, but more interestingly, a few fun ideas came to the surface when I was in town filming last October, and I feel compelled to try them out.

 

This decision definitely brings up some fears, though, which brings me to my next point…Fear of Commitment.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking—I probably haven’t had any recent relationships long enough to jump ship. :)

I’m referring to the fear of committing to any projects or places.

I believe this has definitely shown up in the randomness in all the things I’ve worked on over the last two years:

Yeah, just a few ideas I’ve attempted to get off the ground, all with varied success.

I still believe in these things—I’ve just had my energy all over the place, and so nothing can gain any traction.

 

I think my biggest fear with my creative work has been: what if this turns into something I don’t enjoy?

There are other questions too…

What if I let people down?

What if I’m not up to the task?

What if it turns into an obligation?

As my friend Mike said to me the other day, “are you insane?! why are you even thinking like that?”

Essentially, I’m stopping myself from even getting started.

This has TOTALLY shown up with the Travel Eat Thrive pilot, too—I’m worried that someone will “pick up” the show and then some network exec (or other “suit”) will turn it into something I don’t believe in, or completely change the mission and spirit of the show—and then I’ll have to do it.

I don’t want to feel trapped and boxed in.

But is this true? Have I ever been in something I couldn’t get out of (realistically)?

AND MORE IMPORTANT: what if I changed this thinking?

What if I started thinking about my projects with a sense of enthusiasm for the entire process and started believing that whatever happened, it was going to be awesome and I would love it. Of course, if I got to a point where I didn’t, then it’s OK to pivot, but that’s different from planning an exit strategy from the start.

My subconscious thinking has been “Better to just not commit before I get bored/frustrated/trapped…”

Time to change that up!

 

Now here’s the other BIG fear question that’s been showing up:

“If I ‘stop’ traveling, will I ever get back on the road again?”

I don’t think I’ve really faced this one, and it goes deep…I think it’s partly why I’ve kept going and going and going…

Can’t settle down. Can’t spend too much time. Doesn’t matter if I’ve developed connections—gotta keep moving!

I’ve met some amazing people and on some level, I know it’s felt too short the time I’ve spent with them, but it’s like I’ve gotten myself into this “nomad” life and it “only counts” if I’m constantly moving. Who says? I don’t know! :)

 

I also see returning to Los Angeles as a bit of a failure, like “well, it was fun to go off and play, but now I need to face reality.” But there’s also the sense that I’ve been to some AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL places in the last year, why would I choose the urban jungle that is LA. I’ve hung out in Kauai for crying out loud?! :)

Well, again—it doesn’t help me to take that attitude. I need to just remind myself that I’m feeling drawn to create something there, and it’s not permanent. It’s only 5 months, and I’m even thinking about some short trips during that time. Plus, I have the World Domination Summit in Portland in early July, so at the very least, I plan to be on the road for that!

 

I’ve never really given myself the chance with a project or place, but what if I *really* committed to something in my life?

I know I can do this: I have committed to meditation (almost 1000 days in a row!), and travel, and my health along the way. So it’s not impossible.

I also know I admire others who have put in countless hours toward a project (my favorite recent example is my buddy Ben—after years of work (and living in his parent’s basement!), he’s seeing the fruits of his labors).

If I actively made that commitment, what could open up, what could deepen, what could blossom, and what could take off in awesome ways that I never could have expected?

Yeah, that sound like fun.

How about you? –> Anything you could make a stronger commitment to, like a relationship or a project? 

 

Don’t get me wrong—the living in LA idea and commitments are still scary. I’m not done with my fears; I’m just now attempting to reframe these decisions.

And so the work begins… :)

 

From the road,

Nathan

 

ps – that pic above is from early January, on a (windy!) hike overlooking Lanikai Beach on Oahu. pretty awesome spot to check out! :)

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About

Former life: actor/office worker/virtual assistant; lived in Los Angeles for 11 years. Since then: sold nearly everything, took a $5 flight to Hawaii, lived there for 3 months, wrote an eGuide about all of it, and still traveling. Currently: digital nomad - looking to improve myself, have fun and serve others.

Posted in decision, future, potential, reflection, travel
4 comments on “Living with Too Much Uncertainty and a Fear of Commitment
  1. Kendal says:

    I can absolutely relate. I’m in LA now until April, and relieved to be back somewhere I know my way around and feel comfortable. Relieved that at least until April, I have a place to sleep. I like traveling and want to do more, but part of me is NOT looking forward to returning to France and sorting everything out. Because when I return to France, I don’t have a home anymore for me and my dog. All I want is a place I know I can return to at any time, where I can keep my stuff and sleep in a bed, but not be paying a crazy amount of rent for the place when I’m not there. I don’t want to live out of a storage box, hopping from couch to couch. Yes I want to travel over the summer, but I want to know I have someplace to come back to. I’ve decided that at the end of the year I’d return to LA as my base (somehow….) and make trips the way I used to. A chunk of a couple months, planned out, then return to LA. And I feel like a bit of a failure. And as for income, I have an OK one right now but I can’t rely on it and have been trying to figure out what on earth I can do too. I started a website/blog about being creative and traveling, but I don’t even know how long I can keep up the enthusiasm about that, or even how to make money with it. Anyway… I hear you…. as much as I love adventure, I need to find that balance of certainty/uncertainty too….

    • Nathan says:

      it’s great that you’re being clear with what you want! :)

      funny: i almost like being in an unfamiliar place more: it challenges me to figure things out, and i like that. but yes, where to sleep on a daily basis does get old. :)

      one thing i forgot to mention: i wonder if my travels have been like “chasing a high” – that rush that comes from new places/people/things – have i just been constantly seeking that, instead of pausing every now and then to enjoy the moments inbetween?

      it’s also easy for me to say you are NOT a failure (and yet still think i am :). i’m really looking to embrace the idea that those who “fail” more get further in life! :)

      and i’ve heard that to generate income, one needs to add value and follow their heart. now i’m in the middle of “but i’m kinda scared to do that…” probably another plunge i need to take!

      thanks for chiming in Kendal and glad to hear this resonated. and of course, i hope we can connect (in person!) while we’re both in LA… :)

      • Kendal says:

        Late reply. lol.

        I’m actually missing Paris, as frustrating as it can be. I want to go exploring, and keep struggling with French.

        I think for me, I just need a balance between the work and struggle of figuring things out, and time where I don’t have to do that and can just relax. Of course, almost any place can turn into that relaxing place. Once I was new to L.A., and it was a struggle figuring it out. Now it’s not. Every place is new for a while. Some just take longer to break through to the “oh, this is kind of home” feeling.

        I understand the “chasing a high” thing too. You start getting familiar in a place and then it’s like…. “I need something even NEWER.” Something different. I love getting to feel at home somewhere, and still would like to do that in Paris, but at the same time feel like “hm, what would it be like in Hawaii? Or India?”

        Adding value…. yeah. It’s hard for me to figure out what I have to offer. I don’t know why. I’m sure I’ll figure it out though. :-)

        Glad we could connect, I hope we can do it again! :-D

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