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Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields
Published by Portfolio on September 29, 2011
Buy on Book Depository
A few things went through my mind when my friend handed me Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields. I know my life is rather mixed and transient, but I thought it had more control than needing Uncertainty. That friend is also into mindfulness, yoga, and spirituality a lot more than I am, so I was a little apprehensive. I admit Uncertainty sat on my shelf for a long time. That was a mistake.
Maybe it just reached me at the right time (thank you, Eileen), but Uncertainty is the most (only?) useful self-help genre book I have read. Jonathan was a lawyer, then a personal trainer. He opened a yoga center in New York (see, it’s a little fluffy) the day before the September 11 attacks. He has worked a billion hours straight and suffered the health consequences. He’s a great person to write a book discussing uncertainty and how to manage it.
The book starts with a discussion of how uncertainty is a normal part of life. Jonathan uses several case studies of people taking a chance in business, embracing uncertainty, and being a success. It sets the scene well, but I was struggling through it until I hit the chapters on finding certainty anchors and building a hive. Again, fluffy titles for topics that spoke to me. A certainty anchor is a ritual. Without using the name for it, a friend’s counselor suggesting making coffee each morning as one. Another friend told me she loves the Episcopal/Anglican church’s Book of Common prayer because it was her certainty anchor. Mine is planning my day in my Best Self Journal each morning. The other amazing chapter I mentioned was building a hive. This was mainly perfect timing. Swinburne University released a video about one of the degrees I’m doing next year and it mentioned students using their own businesses as the class work, versus reading case studies of what others did. In Uncertainty, Jonathan uses business incubators as examples of hives. Places where you’re surrounded by supportive, positive-energy people while building a business or following a dream. Exactly what the innovation and entrepreneurship element of my degrees will have. Yeah, it’s confirmation bias, but it’s confirmation bias for good.
I love the realism Jonathan adds to the book. He acknowledges business building dominates your life, and even with his mindfulness past he failed and needed a reminder to allow self-care time. That’s definitely something I will need reminding of next year. Jonathan quotes scientific research. I don’t know enough (nor did I do my own research) to confirm its validity. Even if it’s biassed, you’ll pick up useful tips on business building and looking after yourself while doing so.