Uncertainty - friend or foe? - Michelle Gibbings

Our brain loves certainty.  It makes us feel good.  It’s comforting to feel that we have all the answers and know precisely what to do.

The challenge is that as the world gets more, not less complex we need to become more comfortable with uncertainty.

This can be hard.  As leaders you feel as though you should have the answers, and that’s is not OK to say “I don’t know”.

In many situations, leaders are asked to make decisions quickly and with imperfect information.

In these types of scenarios, it’s easy to fall into the trap of letting pre-conceived ideas and assumptions drive the decision making process.

Simple and complicatedThis is dangerous.  Why?  Because our brain loves bias.  It loves taking the well-trodden route.  It takes comfort in what is familiar.

However, in times of change and uncertainty, it can be the decision or idea that makes you uncomfortable that can be the best course of action.

As Voltaire said: “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one”.

When you are ‘certain’ you can close yourself off to different ideas and unique opinions.  You can discount the outlier or the silent voice.  You can silence the dissenter.

It is precisely at these times you should welcome such diverse views to the table.

It is these views that can help you see things from a different perspective and that can challenge the prevailing norms of the group.  While these views may make you feel uncomfortable, recognise that this is a good thing.

It is only when you feel uncomfortable that you are stretching yourself and your mind, and learning something new.

So next time you feel uncertain about something, get excited about the possibility of a new concept or learning coming forward.  It’s a good trigger that it time to take yourself outside your comfort zone and to embrace new ideas.

Remember, change happens. Make it work for you!


Michelle Gibbings is known for making the complex, simple.  She helps people to think more deliberately, act with greater purpose and accelerate progress by understanding the art and science of human behaviour.  

e: michelle@changemeridian.com.au



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