The Uncertainty Mindset 2019-2020

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#24: Building capacity

vaughn2nd January 2021 at 3:24pm

This issue is about building the capacity to be in multiple minds simultaneously, which is important in an increasingly complex, interconnected, and interdependent world susceptible to perturbation—as coronavirus demonstrates.

With one mind, we enjoy what remains of the normal as it gradually disappears, hoping (but not expecting) it to return. With another mind, we perceive and appreciate what is newly emerging, without the expectation that it will persist. With yet a third mind, we prepare for the unknown that is still to come. Three identities—past, present, and future—that must all be in the foreground at once.

Being in many minds at once is intensely uncomfortable, and being able to be simultaneously many-minded is a capability which is emotionally difficult to build. One way to build this capability is to engage in productive discomfort, the principles of which are:

  1. Simple actions are best—as long as they provoke discomfort and real failure is possible.
  2. Initial actions should be uncomfortable but manageable—keep initial actions small and singular, and gradually increase their size and complexity.
  3. Commitment is important—tell friends, loved ones, or social media followings to provide external enforcement against wimping out.
  4. Set a determinate end date—to have a clear point at which to review progress and (possibly) decide to cut losses.

This is a strategy that is consistent with the uncertainty mindset.

You can find it here: #24: Building capacity