Today is November 27 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how comfortable are you with ambiguity?” People who navigate the chaos learn, sometimes the hard way that life is often about not knowing and dealing with the delicious ambiguity of living. American actress Gilda Radner and former professional poker player Annie Duke learned first-hand that life is often about not knowing. Radner wrote “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I have learned, the hard way, that some poems do not rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
Born on June 28, 1946, in Detroit, Michigan, Gilda Radner went on to star with close friend John Belushi on NBC's Saturday Night Live. Some of her most memorable characters were Roseanne Roseannadanna and Baba Wawa, and she won an Emmy Award for her work in 1978. Radner married fellow comedian Gene Wilder, whom she met on the set of the film Hanky Panky. She died of ovarian cancer in 1989, at 43 years of age.
Former professional poker player Annie Duke knows that one strategy to navigate the chaos is to get comfortable not knowing where life will take you. Duke was one month away from defending her doctoral dissertation when she decided she no longer wished to pursue academia and left school to play professional poker. She holds a World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet from 2004 and used to be the leading money winner among women in WSOP history.
Duke won the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions and the National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2010. She has written a number of instructional books for poker players, including Decide to Play Great Poker and The Middle Zone, and she published her autobiography, How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker, in 2005. As Duke said “In life you never know where you’ll end up. You have to be comfortable not knowing where life is going. All we can do is learn how to make the best decisions in front of us and trust that over time the odds will be in our favor.”
How often are you focused on wanting a perfect ending?
Since your life has probably not been as perfect as you would have hoped for, what does that tell you about embracing ambiguity?
Can you accept the fact that ‘some poems do not rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end?’
How often do you remind yourself that ‘life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next?’
How often do you challenge yourself to be comfortable not knowing where life is going?
How often do you ‘learn how to make the best decisions in front of you and trust that over time the odds will be in your favor?’