Why do traffic lights have countdowns? A countdown doesn’t make a traffic light change faster. Yet, it makes the wait more bearable.
Uncertainity makes us feel uncomfortable – that is why our simplest appliances come with user manuals and we can track the precise location of our food-delivery order on our smartphones.
However, mitigating uncertainity can come at a cost. We all work for businesses that are far more profitable than our salaries reflect. Even as this profit fluctuates, our salaries remain predictable and we pay a large premium for this predictability.
More importantly, the things that feel most meaningful are always uncertain. If a project is sure to succeed, pulling it off doesn’t seem meaningful. We derive meaning from achieving in the face of uncertainity. Even a lottery that is rigged in your favour isn’t fun anymore.
We feel uncomfortable when the solution to a problem is unknown, the path to the end is unclear or when something we are trying might not work. May we use that discomfort as a signal to roll up our sleeves and lean in.