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The Upside of Uncertainty

The Upside of Uncertainty-by Sanjay Sinha

We cover by default the Downside of Uncertainty by taking appropriate Insurance cover to feel secure and comfortable. Do you know there are organizations which cover the Upside of Uncertainty and they call it Reverse Insurance?

As a leader of a major Gambling organization explained, “We sell reverse insurance” …Our ideal target customer is the forty-five-year-old guy who wakes up in a job he hates, a relationship he hates, and realizes his life is always going to be the same.”

They gamble to give themselves the chance that something new could happen. This is Reverse Insurance.

In fact, most of us spend an immense amount of time, energy and money trying to make our lives more certain, in the process we forget how much we also crave uncertainty. I remember in one of those recent surveys, people make their mid-career changes not due to money or because they had a bad boss but because they were bored, where you reach a plateau of certainty. The major challenge for maintaining a relationship is reintroducing the uncertainty that keeps the spark alive.

Potential benefits of Uncertainty

I am not advocating too much uncertainty (overwhelming and panic if it is too much), but often in our quest to avoid uncertainty we forget that we need it to feel alive, happy and challenged. We are taught to create a predictable, stable life plan, missing the point that we add on other certainties, eliminating other possibilities that will be frustrating.

Uncertainty is an essential ingredient for new things to happen. Imagine if chefs in the restaurants hadn’t tried new ingredients, injecting new processes, new cooking techniques, we wouldn’t have so many cuisines available today.

When we try reframing uncertainty as a necessary reverse insurance against a normal check-list life, we take bigger risks, tapping into uncertainty possibilities which are more valuable. We are forced to think and act like a Rookie. This mindset is learnable and can be cultivated which best can be done with coaching.

In fact, certainty is overrated. Pandemic was a brutal hit on all of us.

We live with many planned uncertainties (starting a new venture, new job, moving to a new location, getting married or undergoing some other exciting but potentially stressful change in our life) and unplanned uncertainties (health, money/time resources, relationship, career) on daily basis without realizing its longevity and the impact. We always fail to see how uncertainty might be leading us to a new learning zone.

As you look at the uncertainties you face, is it really true that you are in a panic zone? Or is it possible that you are just feeling the normal discomfort of the learning zone? How much have you given up on your dreams? Tolerance to uncertainty/discomfort is a sign of growth…….


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