Complete Story


Learning in Fog

An excerpt from The Upside of Uncertainty

Although most people agree that we live in increasingly uncertain times, few of us have been taught the robust skills for navigating uncertainty with courage and resilience. Not surprisingly then, when we run into uncertainty, we end up feeling anxious, afraid or tripping headlong into any number of behavioral traps, such as threat rigidity or rumination. In these moments we forget a fundamental truth: The best things in our lives—meaningful relationships, education and careers, breakthroughs made by scientists and change created by social entrepreneurs—only come after first facing uncertainty. To reach new possibilities we envision, we must all first step into the unknown. And even when devastating uncertainty happens to us, the way we meet the challenge can help us navigate that struggle.

The good news is that there are tools for facing the unknown with courage that we can practice, and, thereby, increase our courage but also our ability to tap into the possibility hidden on the other side of the uncertainty coin. In The Upside of Uncertainty, we describe more than 30 tools to help navigate uncertainty which we discovered reviewing the empirical research and in interviews with creators, innovators, artists and entrepreneurs.

We organize these many tools around a “First Aid Cross for Uncertainty.” This first aid cross has four categories of things you can do when facing the unknown: reframing uncertainty from being a source of loss to a potential source of possibility, priming in advance so we are prepared for it, doing in ways which lead to more positive action, and sustaining ourselves through the inevitable challenges. The tools are meant to help you accomplish these four tasks in new and refreshing ways. For example, the do section describes ways to take action that increase the likelihood of positive outcomes. One of the tools we discovered is “Learning Through Fog.” When you do something new, or your world gets rattled by an unexpected event, it is easy to feel lost. People often describe such a feeling like being lost in the fog, unsure where to go. How can you discover your way out of the fog?—Nathan Furr and Susannah Harmon Furr

* * *

Please select this link to read the complete article from SSIR.

Printer-Friendly Version