This article appeared in the April 01, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Coronavirus and the lessons of uncertainty

J. David Ake/AP/File
Two paddleboarders stop to watch the sunrise on a stormy morning in Sanibel, Florida, Aug. 15, 2019.

Scientists will tell you that human beings like uncertainty least of all – even worse than an expected bad outcome. Yet today, we all are learning to live with heaping measures of it – about lockdowns, stock markets, and health issues. It’s true beyond the coronavirus, too. The Monitor’s ongoing series on navigating uncertainty is precisely about finding bearings when so much that seemed solid – democracy, capitalism, the climate – now seems uncertain.

How do we get those bearings? A Harvard Business Review article points to some of the same things we have – that uncertainty is not immune to reservoirs of gratitude, a determination to persevere, and a willingness to learn new lessons. And those lessons can be transformative.

To thrive in uncertainty is to know one does not have all the answers or control, says Margaret Wheatley, who studies organizational behavior. It is a willingness to trust and build together and be flexible. The greatest thing an organization can do, she says, is lead “toward a greater and greater capacity to handle unpredictability, and with it, a greater capacity to love and care about other people.”

Because, well done, the one helps strengthen the other.

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This article appeared in the April 01, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 04/01 edition
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