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12 Mar 2015

The Secret to Making Uncertainty Our Friend

Making uncertainty our friend means doors to opportunities will always be there.

Making uncertainty our friend means doors to opportunities will always exist no matter how closed in we feel we are.

When we do not deal well with uncertainty, we make bad decisions. As an unspecified fear, it stirs anxiety in us. The secret to making uncertainty our friend is to change how we see it.

The secret to making uncertainty our friend is to look at the alternative. When we do, certainty and its cousin predictability are a form of hell. All turns out as it should be not as we hope.

Visiting Hell

Forget about any hopes of your children having a better life than you do. Research shows that in terms of income and status children usually end up on the same rung as their parents. Without our friend uncertainty, this would be certain.

Creativity and innovation would be gone too. Why? Mike Fox, a man who has devoted decades to studying these, says that motivation threw all predictions of creativity out the window. Without our friend, motivation would not matter.

Do you have an outside chance of getting a job? A promotion? It is no longer there. Those will always go to the favorites no matter what happens. Nothing you do will matter.

Trying to do the impossible? You would fail. It would be certain. Nothing would change that. There would be no hope of us even being wrong about that.

No Hope without Uncertainty

When dictators set up shop, the first thing they do is remove hope. They remove hope that things could change. They want certainty. Without our friend uncertainty, hope does not exist.

There would be no miracles, no underdogs, no Davids to slew Goliaths. A single highly motivated person would not be able to achieve something totally out of proportion to his or her personality, education, intelligence, skills and background.

The Secret to Making Uncertainty Our Friend

The secret to making uncertainty our friend is realizing that without it we would not prevail against the odds, the doubters and the critics. We would not prevail over the facts, statistics, calculations and logic that say, “It’s impossible.”

Our friend allows us to challenge all of them by asking, “Is it certain?” Of course it is not. Uncertainty is alive and well. It helps us do what others say we cannot do. It is our friend.

2 Responses

  1. As I have written a number of times and suggested to my students and anyone who will listen: “More significantly than death and taxes or prison, ONE THING THAT’S DEFINITELY CERTAIN IS UNCERTAINTY!!!” No one can ever be certain of an outcome, an answer, a solution because of uncertainty.

    All too often the uncertainty impacts individuals, groups, and organizations negatively: “If I/we can’t be certain, then I’ll withdraw and restrict my/ourselves to doing what we’ve always done, what I/we are told to do… I like so much how you’ve put it Mike: Because of the uncertainty not eliminating any decision(s) for certain, think positively and invoke hope, innovation, and creativity to seek a decision that might be good / useful – BECAUSE I/ WE DON’T KNOW IT CAN’T!!!!

    As usually is the case, a quote from Albert Einstein comes to mind: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” That imagination yields innovation and creativity where knowledge likely suggests not doing it!!!

    1. Mike Lehr

      Yes, John, you’re so right on this. How can we be certain something is impossible? Sometimes it’s best to just plow ahead and see what happens.

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