CM 013: Jamie Holmes on the Surprising Benefits of Uncertainty

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

Blog Post - Jamie HolmesNo one likes uncertainty, yet our success may depend on it. In the bestseller, Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing, Jamie Holmes argues that uncertainty and ambiguity are invaluable mindsets in an increasingly complex world. In fact, he wants us to rethink our desire for order and closure, so that we can be better leaders, decision makers, and innovators.

A recent Future Tense Fellow at New America, Jamie has written for the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, the Huffington Post, POLITICO, the Christian Science Monitor, the New Republic, the Atlantic, Slate, Foreign Policy, and the Daily Beast.

In this episode you will learn:

  • the reasons why a high tolerance for uncertainty is so valuable right now
  • the ways we can use uncertainty to avoid bad decisions
  • how our need for closure and order drives so much of what we do
  • the value of uncertainty for innovation and creativity
  • strategies for guarding against negative behaviors associated with certainty
  • when (and how) to hire employees who thrive on uncertainty
  • the kinds of leaders we prefer versus need in times of uncertainty
  • how successful, innovative companies incorporate uncertainty into their business models
  • what this means for educators and learners
  • the real-world disorder and chaos associated with innovation, discovery, and creativity
  • concrete strategies to help students get more comfortable with uncertainty
  • what a renowned golf instructor can teach us about feedback
  • the power of travel and bilingualism for building this capacity
  • the power of reading fiction for helping us strengthen our tolerance for uncertainty

Jamie also shares how uncertainty, ambiguity and not knowing make us better leaders and expand our capacity for innovation and creativity.

Links to Topics Mentioned in this Podcast

Jerome Bruner

Leo Postman

Travis Proulx

Jordan Peterson

Arie Kruglanski

Need for Closure scale

Stalling for Time by Gary Noesner

Ambiguity Intolerance

Zara

Inditex

Amancio Ortega

Jim Lang

Assumption College

Brilliant Blunders by Mario Livio

Bob Christina

Dean Simonton

If you enjoyed the podcast, please rate and review it on iTunes. For automatic delivery of new episodes, be sure to subscribe. Thanks for listening!

Thank you to Emmy-award-winning Creative Director Vanida Vae for designing the Curious Minds logo!

@GAllenTC

www.gayleallen.net

LinkedIn

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

5 Comments

  1. […] the person’s work through their publications. I am particularly fascinated by the interviews with Jamie Holmes on the Surprising Benefits of Uncertainty and Martin Ford on Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Future of […]



  2. […] person’s work through their publications. I am particularly fascinated by the interviews with Jamie Holmes on the Surprising Benefits of Uncertainty and Martin Ford on Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Future of […]



  3. Erica Paige Schumacher on June 22, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I enjoyed this presentation by Jamie Holmes. However, I think the idea that ‘uncertainty’ needs to be artificially inculcated in students or in the general population is erroneous. All humans feel doubt and uncertainty at high and lower levels of Creation and learning. Any true discipline will have areas of uncertainty at its highest level of questioning. There are solid answers to some questions, and by building on those, we develop a tolerance for Uncertainty at Mature Levels in any discipline. There are also phases of Uncertainty in every level of creation, except when something is formed. If a person goes to a new country, and is learning a new language, this happens naturally. If they never achieve mastery of that language or experience learning, constant frustration will reverse learning and Creativity. This is true also in terms of applying principles of science to Reality. But basic principles, ie, “Water satisfies thirst.” or “1+1 =2” are true, but also, at another level, may not be true. Frustration that goes on forever leads to very little. So, I do take issue with the artificial inculcation of “Uncertainty.” The world provides this for us, and so does the idea that Reality has many levels. If you never understood a new language by studying the basics and reaching a certain threshold of learning and success, you would simply shut down and reverse the learning process. So, yes, it’s good to be ‘safe’ and to be ‘willing to fail,’ especially in innovation and the creative and scientific disciplines. But this happens naturally in all creative and scientific processes; it need not be artificially made. Form is also a tangible form of success. Without ‘form,’ the world could not exist.



  4. Gayle on June 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Good points! Thanks for listening and for sharing your insights on uncertainty. I appreciate it.



  5. […] the person’s work through their publications. I am particularly fascinated by the interviews with Jamie Holmes on the Surprising Benefits of Uncertainty and Martin Ford on Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Future of […]