Radicle Thinking
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Radicle Thinking

Embracing Uncertainty

“There is nothing certain, but the uncertain.”

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

If there was a scale for measuring the degree of certainty an average person faces today, we’d probably have broken through the highest levels the scales were designed for, something that’s ratified by the World Uncertainty Index, at its highest levels (by way of multiples) over the last 12 months.

From the macro-level of the pandemic and its increasing number of variants, climate change, education disruption, supply change challenges of vaccine roll-out, social and political unrest to the personal level of job uncertainty, illnesses within families, and various levels of social isolation and lockdowns and related testing requirements — any and all of these (and more) contribute to a sense of uncertainty.

How does decision-making work in such corridors of uncertainty? In a recent article by Gap International, there’s an eloquent discussion on suspending what we know (or may want to), as one of the biggest leadership challenges, decision-makers (and indeed all of us) face on a moment-by-moment basis. And having the sense of self-awareness as to when we’re leading from knowing or not knowing.

The interesting dilemma today’s highly uncertain times pose is that even if we think we’re leading from a position of knowing, and accounting for all the eventualities for what we don’t know, the consequences may still not work out as desired.

Here’s an interesting case study, which makes for a fascinating read. I have been a member of Abundance 360, Peter Diamandis’s mastermind for 360 global leaders and entrepreneurs since 2016, and like most events, it became a virtual affair this year. As this blog post indicates, even though extensive preparations and precautions were taken by someone who, along with his team, is probably one of the most informed and connected parties globally when it comes to understanding COVID-19 risks, they were still unfortunately unable to prevent a few individuals testing positive.

And while we can’t let our fears about an uncertain future accelerate our anxiety beyond healthy levels and lead to analysis paralysis, it would perhaps be helpful for those global leaders launching COVID-recovery initiatives across all domains, including health, education, and climate, to treat those efforts not just as precision strikes, but research efforts as well, that are likely to have multiple points of failure, due to the convergence of multiple global risks in an age of long emergencies.

And to be ready to celebrate and honor those as well, if not more, than those that work out as planned.

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