Lately this commercial has been airing quite a bit and it’s got me percolating.
If you can’t view it on your screen, it’s a Ball Park Frank commercial with three guys standing around a BBQ, as one man says that he is 99.9% sure about a particular baseball statistic. Whereupon another man questions his certainty by asking, “Sure?”
Certain man: “I’m 99.9% positive.”
Other man: “So you don’t know.”
Certain man: “I’m 99.99999% sure.”
Other man: “If you don’t know, you don’t know. It’s fine.”
If you don’t know, you don’t know.
This commercial brings up some important points to ponder. That .00001% of uncertainty is important. Why? Because 99.99999% certainty holds significant space of uncertainty.
How much space? Well, if I am holding a bomb that is going to blow and someone advises me to clip the blue wire to stop the bomb from going off and I ask them, “Are you sure?” How comfortable do you think I would feel if they reply, “I am 99.99999% sure.” You can bet your bottom dollar that .00001% of uncertainty will hold a significant amount of space on wonder in my consciousness.
How often have you been certain about something, but are actually only almost certain?
Almost is not 100%.
Let’s examine 100% in our everyday lives through our conversations. How many times have we sat and listened to someone’s account of a circumstance, and in listening and absorbing their experience we accept it as truth? Have we actually gathered 100% of the story? Have we actually even gathered 50% of the story? If we turn around and share the details of that story how can we be certain that the story we are telling is…accurate?
Remember that old commercial for Sure deodorant, with the catchy jingle that got stuck in your head… Raise your hand, raise your hand, if you’re Sure.
I used to be sure. Not because I wore the deodorant, but because I subscribed to what I knew as the truth to be 100% true.
I was certain of it. I’m talking stake in the ground certainty. I was intentional about spending time with others who affirmed my certainty and together our stakes in the ground created community—a community of certainty.
I am certain of so little, and I am so okay with that. Uncertainty has actually become really comfortable for me. In the space of being uncertain about so many things, I experience freedom.
My acceptance of uncertainty has opened up so much space in my consciousness and my heart to experience life in a way that I did not give myself permission to do before. Actually, it never really entered my awareness before because I was too invested in holding onto my stake of certainty that was so firmly hammered in the ground.
Why was I holding on? In reflection I know it was because within my certainty, I was not alone. I had community. I shared space with other people who believed like I believed. I was comfortable.
But one day I realized it all didn’t feel comfortable for me anymore. My staked in certainty started to feel like a wool coat in the heat of the summer. Uncomfortable! I finally took it all off and exposed myself to feeling free to seek new experiences, to wonder, and to ask myself important questions.
What is true for me today? What am I certain of today? Those are powerful questions that I’ve started asking myself.
I invite you to question.
I invite you to wonder.
I invite you to ponder.
What are you certain of?
And just because the jingle is now stuck in my head, I wanted to share it with you. Here is a vintage 1980’s Sure deodorant commercial for your viewing and listening pleasure. Peace.