Title: Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance (Affiliate Link)
Page count: 216 in hardback
Rating: 8 out of 10
Who should read: Entrepreneurs, artists, writers, creative types, and anyone facing uncertainty in their life and career.
The Punch Line: Fields provides incredibly compelling and impactful examples throughout the book to supplement the core ideas and material. If you are setting out on a career without much structure or certainty, this book provides great tools, methods, and resources to “turn fear and doubt into fuel for brilliance.”
Extended Thoughts and Summary:
Fields structures his book into 10 chapters, each with a core message. To start the book he creates a compelling case for the importance of uncertainty in our lives and introduces us to several real-life examples of uncertainty at work. From page one we get the feel of Fields’ writing style and his emphasis on examples to drive home his key points.
In chapter one, Fields makes several great points on why uncertainty matters:
- Uncertainty breeds innovation.
- The most innovative companies bake uncertainty into their existence by including it in their ideals and beliefs.
- When we define everything in an effort to eliminate uncertainty, we also eliminate the opportunity for game-changing breakthroughs.
Fields then uses chapter two to describe the physiological and psychological impact of uncertainty on us humans. By doing so he is able to justify the fact that we don’t all embrace the unknown with open arms.
In chapter three we are introduced to the concept of the fear alchemist as portrayed in one of the commissioned pieces of art inspired by the book. He uses the term to describe those individuals who seem to naturally prevail over fear, doubt, and uncertainty on the path to awesome creative breakthroughs. Fields uses the end of chapter three to outline the remainder of the book.
In chapters four through nine, Fields provides applications and practices to put to use in our live to rise above uncertainty in an attempt to create greatness. The topics:
- Find your certainty anchors – Fields makes the case for instilling rituals and routines in our daily lives in order to create a sense of comfort and assurance amongst the vastness of the unknown. Additionally, Fields encourages us to refuel our brains between creative bursts, which ideally last between 30 – 90 minutes. He argues that we are better off refueling rather than powering through, as it makes us more creative and productive.
- Build your hive – Find a supportive group of mentors, peers, and others that can provide open an honest (but benevolent) feedback on a regular basis. By doing so, we open ourselves up to valuable constructive criticism and learning that we might not otherwise experience. Fields tells us about the three types of people from whom we should learn in specific: mentors, heroes, and champions.
- Socializing creation – The power of technology is incredible, and Fields tells us to put it to work for our advantage in this chapter. He recommends using social media and our online tribes to receive real-time feedback and input to our creative process in order to improve the final product.
- Train your brain – Fields proves his strong belief in meditation in some form by dedicating nearly half of chapter 7 to the topic. He provides resources to research and implement several different methods of daily meditation. In addition, we are introduced to outcome and process visualization as tools for improving outcomes. Finally, Fields informs us that exercise may be one of the single greatest acts we can perform to maintain out creative ability and deliver quality work – the key: make it fun!
- See the forest – Fields provides an excellent framework for considering the terrifying question of bailing out on our creation. A list of questions gives us the chance to take a step back and consider what quitting would mean and why we might me motivated to hang up our cleats. Fields also makes the case for a healthy balance in life and not getting addicted to the project, cause, business or creation to which we devote our professional lives. Being a creative type often means we don’t have the obligation of being chained to a desk – so don’t be!
- Own the story line – The subject of this chapter are three main questions about reframing our experiences to reduce the anxiety and stress from uncertainty and doubt. 1) “What if I fail, then recover?” 2) “What if I do nothing” 3) “What if I succeed?” By running ourselves through these situations, we are able to see the entirety of the story and get motivated to go after success (however we define it).
I purchased Uncertainty way back in the pre-order period, taking part in the opportunity to order three books and receive several further benefits. As a result, I kept up with the author, the book release, and all of the surrounding hype leading right up to my package of books arriving at my door. You would be right if you assume this means I was very excited about the book…
I found it to be incredibly useful as a budding entrepreneur and someone with a ton of uncertainty in my life. I can certainly appreciate the methods and practices that have come from the book and I have already started to put some of them to work.
However, I believe the part I liked most about the book was Fields’ incredible ability to put examples to good use without making excessive use and unnecessarily adding to the page count.
It’s safe to say that I am now a member of Field’s tribe and would be happy to buy any further books and products he releases. If you are on a journey of creation, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Uncertainty and giving it a whirl. And if you’ve started to consider taking the leap into the unknown, but haven’t built up the courage to do so, I would absolutely recommend this book before taking the plunge.