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Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance von [Fields, Jonathan]
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"Let's face it-the leap of faith required to follow a dream is usually accompanied by gut-wrenching, knee-quaking, soul-shaking fear. Jonathan Fields knows this-but instead of offering an empty pep talk, he delivers daily practices that can help you transform fear and uncertainty into confidence and creativity." — Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

"Uncertainty; risk; exposure to criticism. How do you conquer this fearsome triad, so it doesn't block your path-even better, how do you harness its power to help you achieve your goals? Jonathan Fields uses perceptive analysis, fascinating case studies, and a series of exercises to illuminate how uncertainty can be used as an engine to power both innovation and creation." — Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

"Keats called it Negative Capability-the skill 'of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts.' Tom Thibodeaux, coach of the Chicago Bulls, says, 'You gotta learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.' But nobody has nailed this faculty like Jonathan Fields, showing us how to turn the fog of self- doubt, fear and internal paralysis into the clear sailing of focus, concentration and results." — Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art and Do The Work

"Jonathan Fields' new book is brilliant and subversive. Through sharp insights and practical exercises, he reframes doubt, hesitation, and ambiguity as gateways to our own natural brilliance. It's a handbook for fearless creativity and its offshoots: meaning, authenticity, and true success." — Susan Piver, author of The Wisdom of a Broken Heart and How Not to

"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, author of Be Excellent at Anything

"With a blend of old and new wisdom, Uncertainty equips you with tools needed to take consistent action in the name of great work. Great read!" — Tony Hsieh, author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of, Inc.

 "Too many of us sit on the sidelines of fear and doubt unable to contribute. This masterful book will put you back in the game." — Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Nonconformity

 "Fear keeps scores of people stuck in careers and lives they hate. Fields gives crystal clear guidance on how to engage with uncertainty so that it fuels creativity and action. Your productivity, happiness, and pocketbook will be massively improved by reading this book." — Pamela Slim, author of Escape From Cubicle Nation


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.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 680 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 244 Seiten
  • Verlag: Portfolio (29. September 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B0052RHDY2
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Screenreader: Unterstützt
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #204.238 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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123 von 127 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.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The problem this causes is best encapsulated in the experiments known as the Ellsberg Paradox 12. April 2017
Von Ian Mann - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
What most courses on entrepreneurship miss is the similarity between the entrepreneurial endeavour and the process of creating art. In both cases there is an inner struggle going on that all too often has the would-be creator abandoning the endeavour.
The author, Jonathan Fields, himself a serial entrepreneur, writer, painter and musician surfaces this creative challenge and provides some practical advice on how to respond.
The similarity between the act of entrepreneurship and the act of creative writing or painting lies in the reality that visionary innovation and creativity cannot happen with every variable, every outcome, every permutation known, tested and validated in advance. If everything is known and certain, it is because it has been done before. Creativity is not about repetition. Creativity always starts with a question, not an answer.
The problem this causes is best encapsulated in the experiments known as the Ellsberg Paradox. Asked to draw a white ball from one of two urns, where one urn has an equal number of each colour and where the other urn has an unknown ratio, people opt for the urn with the known colour split. Mathematically and logically, there is no reason to choose the 50-50 urn over the other, so why do we do it? Magnetic resonance imaging studies of subjects undergoing the Ellsburg Paradox trials showed that the aversion to uncertainty is hardwired into most people and the one urn, erroneously, appears more certain.
Additionally, the more you move into uncertainty and the greater the risk you take to create something that doesn't currently exist, the greater will be potential to be judged and criticised. In studies that eliminated possibility of evaluation by others, the uncertainty aversion disappears entirely! When a set of great works of art by 23 painters was studied by experts those that were commissioned, in other words would be criticised by others from the beginning, were judged to be inferior to those that were not commissioned. Uncertainty attached to the risk of loss and attached to criticism leads to inferior creative work at best, or abandonment at worst. It is as true in the creative act of building a new business as it is in painting or composing a piece of music.
With our natural tendency to eliminate things that cause us pain and discomfort Fields recommends a set of practices that will make it easier to lean into uncertainty, to actively pursue uncertainty, where valuable creativity resides. A 2008 study led by Prof Franck Zenasni revealed a tolerance for ambiguity significantly and positively correlates to creativity.
Rock climbers talk of the “crux move,” the hardest move on a route. In the creative process this is the negative feedback that is so necessary to the production of a great result. Nothing new is ever linear, it always involves false steps that need correction, large corrections at first and then ever smaller ones until a great product emerges. Each of these corrections is a crux move, a judgement on the creators’ ability and the creative needs reframe this from “judgement” to “necessary feedback.”
A great boon to the entrepreneur is having context that facilitates creativity, what Fields calls a “hive” and ditto for artists. Many such incubators are springing up in South Africa as elsewhere, but they are also available in virtual form on the internet for those not fortunate to have access to the physical version.
Google produces the same effect internally. It doesn’t allow, it expects employees to spend 20% of their time on projects that interest them. Paul Buchheit, Google employee # 23, worked on a program to scan emails and serve up ads relevant to content – clearly a crazy idea, but one that grew into Google’s biggest success. Innovation requires that people are able to work on ideas that are unapproved and generally thought to be stupid.
Like the mediaeval alchemist who secrets could turn base metals into gold, creatives need to transform uncertainty, fear, and doubt into fuel for creation. A technique Fields recommends is to have daily rituals which have the psychological effects of providing an anchor in the day amidst the uncertainty. But daily rituals also helps train one to sit down when what we most want to do is stand. Fields also recommends slipping away from the work and doing things that calm mental chatter.
This is a useful book that parallels many similar works on the inner life of the creative artist. It is Fields’ understanding of business that will make this book particularly appealing to entrepreneurs.

Readability Light --+-- Serious
Insights High -+--- Low
Practical High +---- Low

Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen The Writing Style Is A Little Inaccessible For My Tastes. Interesting Ideas, Though. 27. Dezember 2012
Von Ken Montville - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
(note: I was sent a copy of this book, signed by the author - thanks, Jonathan! - in exchange for an honest review. It was also the January selection for 12 Books - a reading group on Goodreads)

I first ran across Jonathan Fields on his blog and was impressed by his giving heart and generous spirit. So I was interested to read his take on overcoming the fear we all have when beginning something new.

To his credit, the book is not just a collection of blog posts cobbled together to make a few bucks. Yet, after the Introduction and first few chapters my mind began to wander.

It seems Fields is writing to an audience that wouldn't normally pick up a personal development/self-help type book. The title itself is a bit hyperbolic. Surely, most people would be happy with outcomes less than "brilliant". This continues into the body of the book where he writes about "creators" and their "creations" in the same way most people might think of producers and products. After all, since marketability is a goal isn't most of what we "create" really a product. Surely, even a product of our imagination doesn't have to be couched in such lofty terms.

Jonathan is a good writer but the language makes the book a little inaccessible, at least to me.

His case studies also seemed a little inaccessible. Most of them are what some people refer to as Renaissance Men (or Women). It's not enough that they are clearly successful in one field, they also seem to excel in several others and, of course, they all have the epiphany that there must be something more. They feel unchallenged, unfulfilled. So they go out and start (create) something new. It helps that the success they've enjoyed before starting over has probable given them plenty of money to take chances without worrying too much about paying the bills.

Finally, some of the advice in this book is eons old wrapped in the language of the Web 2.0 twenty or 30 something trying to find themselves. Routine and ritual become certainty anchors, surrounding yourself with positive, like minded people becomes finding mentors, heroes and champions. Even Jonathan's interesting visions of co-creation through feedback loops or co-working environments might be considered as developing a mastermind group. Oh, and focus? You get that through Attention Training (AT) aka meditation.

As I progressed through the book, I began to like it more and more. It does have some interesting ideas and the author has obviously done his research. So if you'd like a book that provides a path on your journey to bringing your creation to market, this is a good place to start.
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Don't let fear hold you back ever again 18. Februar 2012
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I am a creative dreamer living in the corporate world and I've long desired to break out and start my own business and live my ideal life. For the past 10 years I have known that I'm ready to make the jump. I've tried multiple times to nail down that perfect business idea and build into something that allows me to do just that. But I couldn't make it happen, and I didn't understand why. I saw an interview with Jonathan Fields, went to the book website, and played the video. I immediately downloaded the book on my Kindle. And by the time I got a few pages in I had my answer. It's fear. Paralyzing fear that stops me from pushing through and living up to my full potential. It wasn't overt. I didn't know that I was hanging back, but in reading this book I realized it was true.

The entire book is valuable, but two things about this book specifically resonated with me:

1) Fields descriptions of how it felt to be paralyzed by fear. I started to understand that while I didn't THINK fear was stopping me, it was impacting me every second and every thought.

2) His research into how serial entrepreneurs and creatives handled fear. They were afraid too, but they lean into the fear rather than pulling back. They create structure in other areas of their lives so that they can be in a state of flux with their careers.

I now understand what was blocking me, and I've learned how to lean into the fear and move forward in spite of it. My application of the concepts in this book has removed my last obstacle. In just a few short months I have made incredible progress, to the point that the people I need to partner with and the resources I need to help me on my way are almost jumping out of the woodwork at me. It's not an overstatement to say that this book has changed my life, and the lives of several people that I've recommended it to. If you are in the space I used to be in, buy this book.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Not the greatest. 6. April 2012
Von Scott Steele - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Before reading this book I had already read Making Ideas Happen (Belsky), The Lean Startup (Ries), Crossing the Chasm (Moore), and browsed through Do More Faster (Feld, Cohen).

I found Uncertainty leaning a little heavy on ideas, and examples, from the above books. I'm not implying plagarism, just unoriginality. Credit is given where due, but more for the purposes of a survey than as acknowledging the basis for synthesis.

However, parts of the book still made it a worthwhile purchase for me; Chapter 4, "Certainty Anchors," chapter 7, "Train Your Brain," and chapter 8, " See The Forest," served to reinforce the value of certain behaviors I have already semi-incorporated into my life. So for sparking the resolve to fully incorporate those behaviors the value of the book has been realized for me.

Where the previously mentioned books contain real business methods, which were of substantially more value to me, this book takes a general self-help psychology approach. Finally, the veiled disclaimer on page 190 from the, attorney, author felt uncomfortable.

To sum up, because I was able to synthesize I found value in the book and give it three stars. As a stand-alone read it probably would get 2 or 2.5.
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