Updated: Apr 29, 2021
Max and Alex walked in to a bar. They were brothers who had the same background, same upbringing and value system instilled in them. They were having a drink and were in the middle of a conversation when they were invited to play a game.
There were two options – going into the game knowing everything there was to know including the potential result or go into it blind and figure out as they went along. Even though both men had the same background, same upbringing and values, Max chose the safer option and Alex chose the more adventurous option. What do you think was the experience for both of them?
Max went on to play the game knowing the potential result and made decisions based on that and achieved what was expected. He stayed in his comfort zone, did not stretch his imagination and did what was expected throughout the game. What Max displayed was a mediocrity mindset and went on to achieve mediocre results.
Alex on the other hand, embraced the uncertainty of not knowing the process or the outcome. He stretched his imagination, did things that was needed to get through and was thinking one step ahead the whole time. It was painful having to figure a way out. But he leaned in to the pain, turned it into his strength and not only finished the game, but changed the course of the game entirely.
Now, one might think that this was easy for Alex to do. Absolutely not! Embracing Uncertainty is a learned behaviour. Alex learnt to consciously break away from everything he was taught, everything society expected of him and the need to be successful and correct all the time. He learnt to let go of perfection and instead - just take action! Most importantly Alex chose to break away from mediocrity and step into the world of possibilities and ideas! He became the leader of his life, thoughts and actions!
Most of us go through life in a very predictable fashion. We crave certainty and do whatever it takes to maintain that. We become followers and stick to what we are good at. And there is nothing wrong with that! Just don’t expect greatness – expect mediocrity! The greatest leaders haven’t come out of mediocrity or certainty, they have risen from taking risks, embracing uncertainty and believing in something until they make it happen!
Ask yourself, if you let go of the need for certainty today:
- What would you be doing differently?
- What conversations will you be having (and with whom?) that you have been avoiding?
- What action would you be taking right now?
- What dreams do you have that you will make come true?
And, in the words of Sharon Pearson, the author of Disruptive Leadership:
Followers need to see it to believe it. Leaders believe it so they create it.
How will you embrace uncertainty today to live life on your terms, unleash your potential and live your dream?