Dealing with Uncertainty: Diplomats

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“The only certainty is that nothing is certain.”

Pliny the Elder

One of man’s greatest fears is uncertainty.

You’re likely to recognize the feeling of being uncertain. For most of us, it can be unpleasant.

It’s the sinking sensation at the bottom of your stomach. You’ll feel it when you don’t know what’s around the corner. When you can’t tell what another person is thinking. When you’re at a fork in the road.

It’s all the questions that swirl around your brain at night – or in any moment of stillness, really. Will I reach my potential? Is this the right path? Should I stay here? Should I leave? Can I afford rent this month? Am I going to fail this class? What will I do if I fail?

The questions are endless.

And the only truly freeing thing we can do is to accept those questions. To accept the uncertainty that comes with living life. But how do you do that?

Here at 16Personalities, we want to discuss how your personality type copes and struggles with uncertainty. As a member of the Diplomat Role group, you’re likely to face certain challenges that stem from your Intuitive and Feeling personality traits.

Let’s go ahead and jump in.

What Diplomats Believe

Based on our research, we’ve found that Diplomat personality types are the most likely to say the following about their lives:

  • They feel that they cannot handle stress effectively.
  • They feel as though they are often overwhelmed by life.
  • They find it hard to not let a moderately stressful event negatively affect them.
  • They believe that when things start going wrong, they keep going wrong.

Now, we know that the above sounds discouraging. From those insights alone, it sounds as though Diplomats are personalities who are stressed out easily by uncertainty. But while that may be true, they are also among the most resilient of types.

Diplomats + Uncertainty…

Taking this into consideration, isn’t it amazing how many Diplomats still go out and try to change the world for the better? There’s nothing easy or certain about making an impact, yet Diplomats battle against that fear and go forth. This, in itself, is courageous.

To ease their stress when it comes to uncertainty, Diplomat personality types can try the following strategies.

1. Disrupt negative overthinking.

Advocates, especially Turbulent ones, say they overthink even the simplest of steps. This is even more likely when they’re in uncertain situations. Other Diplomats don’t follow too far behind.

This is largely a result of the Intuitive personality trait. The amazing imaginations of Diplomats can grow larger and larger, completely disconnected from reality at times. While it’s difficult to stop these thoughts from coming in, you can control how you respond to them.

To disrupt a bad line of thinking, give yourself a phrase or motto that immediately makes you think of something positive. Here’s one example: “Only light, love, and peace can be in my body, mind, and soul. All negative energy must leave.”

Or, consider an image in your mind that always makes you smile. For some, it may be the idea of a pygmy elephant. For others, it could be a favorite meme on repeat. Whatever it is, remember to use it in times of negative thought spirals.

2. Don’t resist the uncertainty.

There’s a reason why we feel doubt and uncertainty. It’s our body telling us, “Be cautious!” It’s a completely normal human reaction – and the fear of uncertainty itself is nothing to be ashamed of. Humans wouldn’t have been able to make it to the modern age if they didn’t know when to be on their guard.

However, our fear of uncertainty can sometimes be obsessive. Fear is a tricky thing. It doesn’t go away when you tell it to. In fact, it often grows stronger and brighter in your brain.

For example, what if we tell you not to think of a pink elephant?

Doesn’t really help, does it?

Immediately, your mind conjures up a pink elephant, and then you’re likely to blame yourself for being unable to will it away.

Instead, accept the uncertainty as it is. Observe any and all thoughts you have during uncertain periods in the same way you would observe balloons drifting away. Try to observe objectively and not intimately, as though your doubts belonged to another person.

Another method you can try as a Diplomat personality type is to write your thoughts down and then throw the paper away. This way, it’s a physical action that symbolizes acceptance and release.

3. Give yourself time to step away.

Very rarely do people expect you to make a decision immediately. This is a misconception that many Diplomat personalities have, as they also feel responsible for the well-being of other individuals.

This pressure weighs on them and, at times, they feel the impulse to act not only quickly, but also idealistically.

Instead, give yourself time to step away. It can be a few minutes or a few days, if needed. This depends on the specific situation you’re in. Take a deep breath. Consider the facts of the situation. Regroup.

4. When you’re ready, step back in.

When you feel steady enough, step back into the situation. Solicit help from friends, family, or colleagues if you feel like you don’t have all the resources necessary to make a decision you feel confident about. Timing will never be perfect, but you can’t let that hold you back from experiencing life.


Individuals of every personality type can benefit from viewing uncertain situations as opportunities. The only certainty in life is that there will be change, and learning to use your unique strengths to adapt to this changing world is one of the most important things that you can do.

How does uncertainty affect you? Do you see it as an opportunity, or as a recipe for endless headaches? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Further Reading

Three Ways Each Analyst Can Deal with Uncertainty (and One Way They Shouldn’t)

The Angry Mediator – Stories from the Real World

The Mirrored Microscope: Self-Examination by Personality Type