If uncertainty is the state of not knowing what we need or want to know, then we must hate it…right? After all, uncertainty that matters is what we define as risk. Risk is what keeps us up at night. Worrying about it impacts our mental and physical health. It causes us to spend time and resources that we could otherwise devote to the certainties in our lives. We are wired to be afraid of uncertainty, to see it as a threat, and to protect ourselves from its likelihood and consequences by converting “unknowns” to “knowns.”
But wait…we must also love uncertainty, or at least we love the process of its resolution. We love not knowing for sure what’s inside that wrapped gift. Our brains release pleasure-causing endorphins when we hear the unexpected punch line of a joke. We are naturally curious about, and seek to explore and understand the world around us and the world within us. Without the “itching” of uncertainty we would not experience the pleasure that comes with the “scratching” that learning and knowing provides.
So I guess the bottom line is this. Love it or hate it, uncertainty is a commodity of life, which we need for both survival and fulfillment. What are your thoughts?