the connection between laziness and uncertainty

last week on his routinely brilliant blog, the marketing and change genius Seth Godin discussed several types of sloth.  beyond the usual versions: skipping workouts, postponing deadlines, and languishing on sofas like Ignatius J. Reilly, he included the laziness of bureaucracy and of rules of thumb.  his points were thought provoking and logical.

then i read another example,

“the simple laziness of not being willing to sit with uncertainty…” 

and it stung, because uncertainty is the immortal fly in the ointment of my life.   

i’ve traditionally had a difficult relationship with the unknown.  maybe it’s because as an only child i was the most volatile domestic variable.  but once i fell in line with the coolness of order and predictability, i loved them.  or there’s a deeper issue at play. 

regardless, it was nauseating how Godin linked handling uncertainty and the unwillingness to do so as laziness.   

but he’s right.  sure, slapping together a solution or making an impulsive decision in order to reach an outcome feels like progress.  and the frenetic activity and energy around them certainly look like work, like non-laziness. 

yet weirdly, paradoxically, the work is spending time and patience on facing uncertainty, instead of inventing ways to eliminate it.

we aren’t entirely to blame for our avoidance.  we’ve evolved to be cautious and minimize risks.  when you combine this with society’s re-enforcement of the dangers of doubt, this behavior is no surprise.  

still, what should we do when faced with uncertainty? 

essentially, give yourself a break.  respect the fact that dealing with uncertainty, while intangible, is work.  your willingness to sit with “i don’t know yet…” as your firmest answer is facing the truth.   

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