Uncertainty, Innovation, and the Alchemy of Fear
From: the99percent.com It’s not about ideas, it’a about making ideas happen
by Jonathan Fields
The ability to live in the question long enough for genius to emerge is a touchstone of creative success. In fact, a 2008 study published in the Journal of Creative Behavior revealed tolerance for ambiguity to be “significantly and positively related” to creativity.
Explaining the results, lead researcher, Franck Zenasni, argued tolerance for ambiguity “enables individuals to not be satisfied by partial or non-optimal solutions to complex problems. People who tolerate ambiguity may be able to work effectively on a larger set of stimuli or situations, including ambiguous ones, whereas intolerant individuals will avoid or quickly stop treating such information.”
Problem is, with rare exception, when faced with the need to live in the question, most people, creators included, experience anything from unease to abject fear and paralyzing anxiety. And there’s a neuroscience basis. According to fMRI studies, acting in the face of uncertainty lights up a part of the brain known as the amygdala, which is a primary seat of fear and anxiety. That sends a surge of chemicals through our bodies that makes us want to run.
So, what do you do if you’ve been put upon the planet with an insatiable jones to create, but not the ability to handle the potential angst that goes along with leaning into the unknown?
I spent the last few years interviewing everyone from Mullen Chief Innovation Officer, Edward Boches, to The War of Art author, Steve Pressfield, and devouring reams of research that spanned neuroscience to decision-making theory in a quest to find out. What emerged surprised even me.
There may, in fact, be a very thin slice of creators who arrive on the planet more able to go to and even seek out that uncertainty-washed place..Read the rest of this article..