Have you ever let uncertainty hold you back? Have you let fear stand in your way of doing something important in your life, or of creating something meaningful? I'd be shocked if the answer was no. I know that I've wrestled with uncertainty countless times -- I'm sure we all have -- which is why I'm so excited to share Jonathan Fields' book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, with you today. Jonathan is a blogger and thought-leader I really admire -- he is deep, thoughtful, humble, and an extraordinarily powerful quiet leader.
Danielle La Porte summarized his book quite well:
Jonathan's thesis on innovation can be boiled down to this:
a) Uncertainty is not just useful in creation and innovation, it’s mandatory.
b) Certainty is a dream-killer because it stops us from exploring the possibility that we don’t know everything, and that we might be able to create something better.
So of course I, and dozens of journalists are asking him this: If ambiguity and uncertainty get us to our creative crux, then how can we lean into those states? His answer:
Optimize your workflow. Most of us work in ways that are actually fairly destructive to our ability to not only do great work, but feel great doing it. Simple changes to workflow, like pulsing and refueling, single-tasking and selective ritualizing can change not only how well you create, but how you feel along the way.
A recap on what I’m up to this week: September is one of the big months for book publishing, and as a thank you for being such great readers I’ve got some awesome books to share with all of you! I’ll post an entry each day this week (bear with me, email subscribers!) and you’ll have until Friday at 6pm ET to enter to win a copy of each book by answering that post’s question prompt. I’ll choose the winners via Random.org early next week.
If you have a minute, watch Jonathan's moving book trailer video about the uncertainty he experienced after signing the lease on his first yoga studio one day prior to Sept 11:
Below are some of my thoughts on uncertainty (written for Nick Reese on his Art of Blog interview with 8 other bloggers) -- How to Overcome (And Even Harness) Uncertainty:
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and insecurity is the only security.” –John Allan Paulos
Fighting uncertainty is futile. Uncertainty is truly the only certainty we have in life, so rather than fight it we do best to embrace it. If you get quiet enough in moments of uncertainty, you’ll hear your path whispering to you. You’ll hear your gut, you’ll become aware of new information, and you will move forward in beautiful ways that you couldn’t have even planned for if you tried.
I’ve had a lifelong goal of moving to New York City. After a gorgeous snowy trip last December, I decided it was time. I had no idea how I would get here, where I would live, or what to do with my condo back at home. But step by step, I embraced the uncertainty and leaned into it. It’s so easy to turn uncertainty into unnecessary worry, but if you just trust in yourself, your resourcefulness, and the power of serendipity, you will figure things out.
My other favorite quote is “That which you can plan is too small for you to live.” Take uncertainty as a sign that you’re doing great things in your life — celebrate, invite it in, and enjoy the beautiful chaos of it all.
To enter to win a copy of Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, answer the following question in the comments:
How do you handle uncertainty when making big decisions or embarking on creative endeavors?