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Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Fields

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"Fields is a breezy, engaging writer who demystifies creativity with a whole new bag of user friendly tricks and practices-crux moves, circuit breakers, certainty anchors and attentional training. Hugely practical. Lean into Uncertainty!" (Tony Schwartz Be Excellent at Anything)


Jonathan Fields knows the risks-and potential power-of uncertainty. He gave up a six-figure income as a lawyer to make $12 an hour as a personal trainer. Then, married with a 3-month old baby, he signed a lease to launch a yoga center in the heart of New York City. . . the day before 9/11. But he survived, and along the way he developed a fresh approach to transforming uncertainty, risk of loss, and exposure to judgment into catalysts for innovation, creation, and achievement.

Properly understood and harnessed, fear and uncertainty can become fuel for creative genius rather than sources of pain, anxiety, and suffering. In business, art, and life, creating on a world-class level demands bold action and leaps of faith in the face of great uncertainty. But that uncertainty can lead to fear, anxiety, paralysis, and destruction. It can gut creativity and stifle innovation. It can keep you from taking the risks necessary to do great work and craft a deeply-rewarding life. And it can bring companies that rely on innovation grinding to a halt.

That is, unless you know how to use it to your advantage.
Fields draws on leading-edge technology, cognitive-science and ancient awareness-focusing techniques in a fresh, practical, non-dogmatic way. His approach enables creativity and productivity on an entirely different level and can turn the once-tortuous journey into a more enjoyable quest. Fields will reveal how to:

  • Make changes to your workflow that unlock buried creative potential.
  • Build "creation hives" -- supportive groups that can supercharge and humanize the process.
  • Tap social technology and user co-creation to add clarity, certainty, and sanity, even if you're an artist or solo-creator.
  • Develop a set of personal practices and mindset shifts that let you not just tolerate, but invite and even amplify, uncertainty as a catalyst for genius.

    Drawing on extensive case studies and research, Fields shares a set of detailed personal practices and environmental changes that can not only humanize the creative process, but also allow individuals and teams to stay more open to opportunity and play a bigger creative game.


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109 von 112 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Inspiring Stories, Useful Format 12. November 2011
Von Debra Eve - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
If we dare to create, fear and uncertainty become bedfellows. So how can we work through those emotions and thrive? In this book, Jonathan Fields' uses stories and research to chart an answer. His suggestions don't break new ground, but he assembles them in a useful and inspiring format. Here's the gist (headings correspond to chapters):


"Certainty Anchor" is Jonathan's catch-phrase for a ritual or schedule. One example: Work (create, practice, write) in bursts and pauses. Go for no more than 45 to 90 minutes. Exercise, meditate, nap. Work again.


They're not just cheerleaders, they give honest (but gentle) feedback. Specifically, your Hive can help you shift your focus to learning and away from traffic, sales or profits, and explore a minimum viable product (MVP) that you can release and gather feedback to fold into the next iteration.

The most important thing about a hive: "One person's success isn't necessarily another person's loss. There is no zero-sum game."


Engage in what Fields' calls attentional training: exercise, meditation, visualization, specifically process visualization: "If you're a writer, visualize yourself putting your notebook or pad in your bag, walking to your favorite café, choosing your table, ordering your favorite beverage, spending a few minutes reviewing handwritten notes, then opening your current creation and writing X words or for X minutes or hours."

Not surprisingly, exercise mitigates uncertainty because it changes the brain, tamping down the amygdala's fear and anxiety signals.


To overcome fear and uncertainty about your path, ask yourself three questions:

1. What if I go to zero? What would happen if you failed completely?

2. What if I Do Nothing? Fields maintains "there is no way to move sideways in life. Not in relationships, not in business, not in spiritual growth, not in the quest to build something brilliant from nothing. There's only up or down." He points out that if any of the following are left unaddressed over time: nagging pain becomes chronic; unrewarding work becomes soulless; your currently "passable" life becomes increasingly painful as you enter the long, slow slide toward death.

3. What if I Succeed? Create your own storyline of success.


Does Fields say anything we haven't heard before? Isn't a Certainty Anchor just a ritual or schedule? A Hive another name for network? Meditation and exercise obvious ways to overcome fear and anxiety?

It's not new information. But Fields connects the dots with individual stories, helps analyze what's holding you back, and inspires you to do something about it. His portrait of "What if I do nothing?" is chilling. He includes chapter summaries, something I wish all nonfiction books would do. Plus, I just like the word Hive. All and all, a good read.
35 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen 3 Do's from "Uncertainty" by Jonathan Fields 15. Oktober 2011
Von Shakeel Akhtar - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Here are the 3 Do's from the book "Uncertainty: Turning fear and doubt into fuel for Brilliance" by Jonathan Fields.

1. Accept uncertainty. Whenever you start on a new path or venture or endeavor, accept the uncertainty. Looking for any guarantees before you start can only lead to mediocre work and not great work. Great work is possible by accepting "uncertainty and its trusted sidekicks: risk of loss and exposure to judgment". This is the mindset change needed to get started.
2. Develop a method. With any new venture there is a possibility of a worse case scenario. Depending on the venture, it could be losing everything that you have, going back to zero or worse. Draw out a detailed plan of how you will come out of this scenario if it comes true. You can then go to the next scenario of what if you did not start this venture. Will you be happier five, ten, or fifteen years from now if you did nothing now?. Then go to the final scenario of what if you succeeded. Again, visualize this scenario thoroughly. Hopefully, you will get your answer.
3. Create rituals. Rituals provide some certainty in uncertain times. Create rituals that are specific for your situation. Creating rituals that matter help in bringing the best out of you. There are many benefits from rituals from enhancing creativity to minimizing distraction to building momentum to gaining mastery.

I highly recommend this book because it provides you tips to change your mindset, methods to handle uncertainty and actions to succeed.

You can also find this review and similar ones at [...]
69 von 78 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good concept, bad delivery 13. März 2012
Von R. Mutt - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I really wanted to like this book. The introduction was great, and the chapter summaries in the back were great too, because they were short and told me exactly what angle this author was taking with the always-fascinating concept of how creative people survive. I simply find myself at odds with the author's extremely uninteresting way of explaining things, which made me doubt what he was talking about even when I agreed with his general premise. I also wasn't too keen on the rehashing of old concepts with new names, although I understand Fields' desire to "own" a concept by giving it a new name.

It's not bad content, but I don't like the book. So why the three stars instead of two or just one? I like the concept of the book, I like that Fields put "skin in the game" and emerged with something that will help other people, although it wasn't as helpful to me as I'd hoped.

Other authors attack the same problem with greater personal fire and scientific rigor than Fields summoned in this book. He's onto something for sure, but he's not quite there yet.

Recommended substitutes:
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be (Paul Arden)
How to Get Ideas (Jack Foster)
Philosophy for Polar Explorers (Erling Kagge)
Overachievement (John Eliot)
The 80/20 Principle (Richard Koch)

Running Lean by Ash Maurya is the best book on lean startup, customer development, and bootstrapping methods. Fields hinted at lean startup methods but barely grazed the surface, which is another problem I have with this book.

Robert Rodriguez's Ten Minute Film School (see Rebel Without a Crew, or watch El Mariachi with Director Commentary on) is possibly one of the most motivational tools I've found for creative development.

Also see Chaper One, Time Management Secrets of Billionaires, in Chet Holmes' book The Ultimate Sales Machine for one of the greatest methods I've ever found for preventing burnout and for keeping everything in your professional life well sorted.

I hope this book helps you more than it helped me. And Fields, don't stop now! Everyone has at least one handful of crappy books in them, and you have to get them out of your system eventually.
39 von 47 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Creative Fuel EVERYONE Needs 29. September 2011
Von Sean Platt - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Uncertainty isn't your enemy. Embraced, it's an armored ally, forever by your side. How often have you said... "What if people think I'm stupid?" or "What if I end up all alone?" or "What if I get rejected?" or "What if I'm wrong?"

What if I fail?

What ifs are useless; a bog of self-doubt that will swallow you whole if you stop demanding your best future long enough to let it. Don't. Fear, when expressed as uncertainty, is your friend; fuel for brilliance. You'll never stop it, so embrace the unavoidable and dodge the anxiety, pain and suffering that comes from treating it with silence.

Too many would-be artists spend their time on the craft and not enough time training their minds with the tools to mine their deepest creativity, then act on it, even if they have no idea whether or not they can pull it off, or if the end product will be good enough, or how their adventure will ultimately end. But they go forward...

Even if people think they're stupid.
Even if they end up all alone.
Even if they get rejected.
Even if they're wrong.
Even if they fail.

I can't say enough nice things about Uncertainty. I'll be buying this book in bulk come Christmas time. I know a lot of people who have creativity hiding inside them. They're just a little... Uncertain.
16 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Good material, but not enough to fill a book 26. November 2011
Von Cara Trudeau - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
There are some great nuggets in this book, especially the sections on exercise and brain function, creativity anchors, and reframing from zero. So why only three stars? I felt the tedium and repetitiveness of this book distracted from the good parts. The first chapter described what the book would show. Then the start of each chapter described what would be discussed in that chapter. The end of each chapter summarized what was just described. And, if that weren't enough repetition, the final chapter listed a bunch of takeaways from each chapter. I got the distinct impression the book was 30 pages of substantive material stretched to book length.
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