The Certainty of Uncertainty--Preparing Yourself for a World of Unknowns

  • Published
  • By Col. David Kumashiro
  • 62nd Airlift Wing commander
Truth be told, I'm a bit of a news junkie.  Before I go to sleep every night and as soon as I wake up every morning, I'm on my smartphone, checking all the feeds for the latest news and happenings around the world.  News travels at the speed of light, and in this globally connected world, I figure it's important for us to know what's going on in the world and, as best we can, anticipate where our Air Force and our Global Reach missions might be taking us that day.  It could be delivering aid to an area hit by a hurricane or earthquake, it could be providing humanitarian relief brought on by famine or drought, or it could be supporting combat operations in a far off land.  Regardless of whether it's day or night or what time of year it is, we must always be prepared to deal with uncertainty and the unknown.
Because of this, our Nation invests enormous financial resources in our training and in our operational capabilities--resources that help ensure we can support our national interests and meet combat requirements around the world.  One of the key reasons our military is so highly respected is because of our ability to adapt our capabilities to operate in this world of uncertainty and unknowns.  Our Nation depends on us to be agile and adaptive in dealing with emerging threats, and one only has to watch the latest "breaking news" to know life is anything but certain.

Similarly, each of us as individuals must be agile enough to adapt to the uncertainty and unknowns that we find in our dynamic and ever-changing world.  The effects of the military drawdown, a deployment in support of the Ebola crisis or operations in Iraq, or transitioning to the private sector after a career in the military--dealing with whatever life throws at us takes a deliberate investment of time and energy.
Now to the best of my knowledge, there's no magic formula for how to deal with uncertainty and the unknown, and I wish I could prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution for how best to prepare for it.  However, I will say, that throughout my career, the folks who I have encountered who are the most successful at dealing with uncertainty are those who exhibit strong physical and mental fitness, have a heightened sense of self-control, display a willingness for continuous learning, and embrace the value of diversity.  Add to that a good balance of confident competence and a sincere sense of humility and you get a strong foundation from which to operate in a world of uncertainty. 

You didn't think it was going to be easy, did you?  Well it's not.  Preparing ourselves to live in a world filled with uncertainty and unknowns requires hard work, commitment, and sacrifice.  The great thing about it though, is this is stuff we do every day in the military!