Change . . .
Sometimes you can see it coming.
Other times you just get a feeling inside,
the vague sense that something big,
something different is coming down.
But now and then it takes you totally by surprise.
Regardless of how it approaches, though, change
usually comes with a traveling companion:
This uncertainty often blankets us well before the actual changes arrive. Like a descending fog that marks a shift in weather, uncertainty reduces visibility into the future, blurs the situation at hand, and raises a whole new set of questions.
Moving through this field of ambiguity, you may be tempted to insist on clarity. . . to demand solid answers . . . to push toward closure. Or, let’s put it differently: You might be intent on “managing” the uncertainty—you know, determined to eliminate it, to force it out of your life and career.
That’s not likely to be a winning strategy.
The defining feature of uncertainty is its very unmanageability. Seeking to control it is like trying to rearrange fog. What is manageable, and what you should focus on, is managing you. That is where your power lies, because that is what you’re free to control.
We are all the product of chance and choice. Working in tandem with circumstances that life puts before us, we choose our moves, and so become co-designers of our future.
Hacking Uncertainty maps for you the “road less traveled,” a secret route through disruption and change, providing a shortcut that helps you move through today’s fog of uncertainty toward the best possible outcomes.
You’ll learn the unusual psychology of dealing with unpredictability, a counterintuitive code for managing yourself under conditions of low visibility and high stakes
The program spelled out in the following pages probably isn’t what you would expect. It also may feel unnatural to you. But it’s powerful, and you can make it work.
Beware of Your Natural Impulses.
As change closes in and uncertainty clouds the future, a primal alarm goes off deep inside your brain. Without any conscious effort on your part, this basic survival instinct warns you: “Be careful!” Automatically you start scanning for danger.
This natural impulse, designed purely for your self-defense, asks questions like these:
- How could I get hurt in this deal?
- What do I stand to lose?
- Where could things go wrong?
- What should I do to protect myself?
These are good questions, evidence that this instinct has your best interests at heart. But while it’s good at spotting the potential for harm, it cannot detect the glint of opportunity. Good possibilities get ignored.
With no eye for the potential upside of change, this particular instinct conducts a one-sided risk assessment, focusing only on protecting you from something negative. The hazard? It can distract you from seeing the positive aspects of change.
And there’s another funny thing about us humans that you should know: We’re wired such that we just naturally weigh losses differently than gains. It’s like we use different scales. Dr. Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research that discovered this peculiar behavior. He found that losses carry twice as much psychological impact as wins. No surprise, then, that when we survey uncertain situations, our attention focuses mostly on dodging the threats. This negative bias interferes with the ability to see opportunity and stifles our willingness to take promising risks.
Your challenge is to think past these natural impulses. What if the uncertainty just happens to be giftwrapping, and your job is to find what’s hidden inside?
End of sample.
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