❓ What is uncertainty?
As Sam and Katherine explain, tackling uncertainty is about getting better at dealing with the falls in life. It’s about how quickly we get back up, how we respond to the failure, and the elegance and grace we are able to show throughout. Sam says, it’s about how we cope with the unexpected.
🤝 Enter the Uncertainty Experts
When things weren’t going the way Sam had hoped they would in life, he started reaching out to young entrepreneurs he admired, to offer his time and support for their work. He found that many of these people who had overcome significant adversity in their lives, didn’t really need help, and on listening to their stories, he began to see patterns in how they had taken experiences with uncertainty, and turned them into opportunities.
Enter, Katherine Templar Lewis – a Creative Scientist who specialises in Neuroscience. Intrigued by Sam’s early exploration into uncertainty and our tolerance for it, the two paired up to run the world’s largest study in uncertainty tolerance with over 19,000 participants, with stories heard from gangsters, smugglers, refugees, ex-addicts, homeless people and more.
The Uncertainty Experts is an immersive experience featuring ‘Experts’, from hostages turned healers to refugees turned CEOs. whose stories provide a blueprint for how we can turn uncertainty into opportunity.
👎 Why should we be thinking about our response to uncertainty?
Burnout is at an all-time high, resilience is at an all time low – and our tolerance for uncertainty defines our response. Fear of the unknown stunts creativity, weakens our resolve and diminishes collective action and community cohesion. We have a biological reaction to uncertainty that can be incredibly negative.
Sam and Katherine believe that changing people’s mindsets towards uncertainty is essential for achieving success in 21st century life. No matter what challenges we individually face, uncertainty is the thread that joins them all, and it can also be the power behind the solutions.
⚖️ High and low uncertainty tolerance
If you do a semantic review on ‘uncertainty’, 94% of the time, a negative word is associated with it. This feeling is what triggers a threat response in those moments when we don’t know what the outcome of something is going to be. We get scared, worried, and anxious and those feelings often leave us feeling trapped and unable to take control of our situation. Katherine explains that it is essential that we learn how to turn the negative feelings associated with uncertainty into positive ones. We have to learn how to increase our uncertainty tolerance.
Uncertainty tolerance is a scientifically measurable trait which you can increase through listening to and telling stories, responding to significant adversity, and navigating big life changes. In general, people who have high uncertainty tolerance approach things more calmly, and look for different perspectives and answers. Those with lower uncertainty tolerance, tend to experience much higher levels of anxiety.
It’s so important that we build up our uncertainty tolerance, because it is the driving force behind a lot of feelings and emotions. From decision-making, problem-solving and leadership, to emotional resilience, innovation, and wellbeing, how we respond to uncertain situations has a deep impact on our lives.
🎱 Turning uncertainty into opportunity
So, how do we turn uncertainty into opportunity? Because it’s not just about reducing anxiety, it’s about being able to leave negative feelings around uncertainty in the past, and go straight into excitement.
Katherine explains that there are 5 different psychological dimensions that signify how anxious we might get in periods of uncertainty, and how able we are to stay in that feeling and turn it into a place of creativity. Depending on how we score on the below dimensions, signals how innovative we can be in times of change. It all comes down to:
Katherine and Sam measure how people perform on these dimensions before and after watching The Uncertainty Experts, and overwhelmingly, people’s uncertainty tolerance is higher after.
👍 Embracing uncertainty turns it into a generative force.
Once you start to understand different behaviour patterns, and to practise them yourself, your brain fundamentally changes. You develop a higher uncertainty tolerance. If we’re going to pull things out of our non-conscious brain and retrain and rewire them, we need to be aware of how we’re operating.
A couple of ways you can embrace uncertainty
- Introception – feeling fear in your body and controlling it to disrupt your thinking less.
- Cognitive restructuring – reframing your thinking to drive you towards uncertainty rather than away.
On 6th June, The Uncertainty Experts are starting a new live cohort, that you can join! Learn more about The Uncertainty Experts here.