How to manage uncertainty – Sam Conniff, Be More Pirate & Uncertainty Experts

Sam Conniff, Author, Be More Pirate; Presenter/Facilitator, The Uncertainty Experts
The unknown can be scary and anxiety driving. These can in turn can hamper our ability to problem solve and make good decisions. So, how can we learn to deal with uncertainty? That's what Sam will share with us 🙂

[06:05] Defining “uncertainty”

  • Some ways we can describe the word include…
    • Doubt
    • Skepticism
    • Suspicion
    • Mistrust
    • Lack of sureness
    • The Unknown
  • Uncertainty is a feeling, unlike other terms such as…
    • Volatility
    • Complexity
    • Ambiguity
  • What uncertainty is not:
    • Uncertainty ≠ Risk
      • Risk is dealing with known knowns. In other words, it’s an assessment of the likely outcome of known scenarios.
    • Uncertainty ≠ Reforecasting
      • We always need to adapt; but, again, reforecasting takes what we already know into account.
    • Uncertainty ≠ Resilience
      • Resilience is “getting good at getting hit”. But it relies too heavily on the individual, and not as much on the organization.
    • Bottom line: We need to get good at the uncertainty that is to come, rather than just get better at taking blows.

[10:10] Uncertainty Tolerance

  • Uncertainty tolerance is a concept that was developed in the 1980s which asserts that uncertainty sits at the root of all anxiety disorders.
  • The brain lights up exactly the same with fear as it does with anxiety.
    • One path leads to anxiety, the other to creativity.
  • Those with low uncertainty tolerance have a higher recourse to…
    • Divisiveness
    • Self-doubt
    • Indecisiveness
    • Fatigue
    • Impressionability
    • Anxiety
  • Those with high uncertainty tolerance have a higher recourse to…
    • Collaboration
    • Empathy
    • Decisiveness
    • Resilience
    • Open-mindedness
  • You can increase or decrease your own uncertainty tolerance.

[25:23] Negativity Bias

  • The brain has a predetermined bias towards negative assumptions.
    • Our negativity bias soared dramatically in 2020.
  • Overcome negativity bias in the time between tides.
    • Commit to daily deep reflection to spot opportunity amidst uncertainty.
  • Identify the times when you are most open-minded. These moments are when you can think and act best in uncertainty.

[49:49] Unearthing lessons in times of uncertainty

  • There are opportunities for growth in times of uncertainty.
    • We can find these when we downregulate our emotional response to uncertain situations and raise our awareness in order to gather information.
  • When we experience…
    • fear, don’t strive for bravery, but for action.
    • fog, don’t strive for clarity, but for creativity.
    • stasis, don’t strive for progress, but for trust.
  • What are you willing to do to walk slowly into the deep end of your life?

[1:08:05] Transforming failure

  • 85% cited fear of failure as their greatest fear.
  • 83% identified missed opportunity as the regret they most want to avoid.
  • “Reflecting this clear parallel encourages cognitive restructuring.”

[1:08:51] Action vs Avoidance

  • 78% identified an avoidant safety behaviour in response to uncertainty.
  • 89% realised they gain nothing from it.
  • 90% intended to embrace uncertainty.
  • 99% reported taking action in spite of uncertainty felt better than avoidance.