Book review time kiddos! In the year 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy: In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. That was a long time ago. I suppose it still holds true, however grim it may be. Although not everyone in the world has to pay taxes, I guess they just have death to be certain about. Newsflash: Life is Uncertain! Yes, we get up and have a pretty good idea of what we ‘ll do on any given day (at least a rough idea).
If your engaged to be married and you‘ve set a date, you can be fairly certain you ‘ll get married on said date. Are you pregnant? You guessed it, you can be certain you ‘ll give birth in about nine months. Finishing school, planning for retirement, countdown to vacation the list goes on. We humans are good at setting up these scenarios in an attempt to be certain good little control freaks we are. Reality check: Nothing is Certain and that ‘s okay.
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance
This leads me to my latest book review:Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, by Jonathan Fields. You may remember my recent post about Jonathan ‘s other book, Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love . Well buckle-up, Uncertainty takes you on a creative journey to transform uncertainty, risk of loss and exposure to judgement into catalysts for innovation, creation and achievement. Still with me? Good.
- Are you tasked with creating new ideas to make your organization succeed?
- Contemplating a new business venture but feel uncertain it will succeed?
- Happy with life but always seeking ways to grow personally and professionally?
- Do you just feel stuck and bored with life?
- Are you working hard towards a promotion at work and want a competitive edge?
I think you know where this is going. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should read this book.
What I love most about this book are all the resources and case studies given to support everything. Sure, my critic can pop up and say duh, this is common sense stuff meditation and exercise help the creative process, nothing new here. I politely tell my critic (Bert) to go take a nap and I focus on the fact that while some of this isn ‘t new information to me, the research to back it up IS new to me. This helps my skeptical reptilian mind. Plus, I don ‘t even have a solid meditation practice or exercise routine down right now so this is especially helpful for me (but I digress). Lots of great stuff in this book, so in the interest of space and time (and your attention span), I ‘ll focus on my favorite parts:
Building a Creative Hive
Chapter 5 lays out the importance of creating a safe, honest and productive creative hive (group, cluster, sewing circle, whatever you want to call it). This is something I ‘ve written about as well because I ‘m a huge believer in healthy collaboration and support. Working in a vacuum, especially on a creative endeavor targeting any kind of audience, can be futile. Sharing can bring about clarity and improvements.
Afraid of criticism? Well, its inevitable and I bet you ‘d want to hear it from a trusted source before an unknown customer. Do you live in the woods or are you too shy to reach out to other creatives in your field? Several resources for finding OR creating your own creative hive are offered, proving there is a group out there for just about anyone.
In chapter 7, the term attentional training is used to discuss various forms of meditation. Many people get too caught up on the word meditation because they think you have to chant or sit for hours and envision a perfect golden sphere floating in your mind. Sure, some mediation is like this, but certainly not all. Attentional training (AT) is all about creating a daily practice where you can focus your awareness.
This can be in the form of exercise (hiking, jogging, walking, cycling, yoga, etc.), writing/journaling, kitting, etc. Any activity where you find yourself getting (safely) in the zone (please don ‘t go jogging off a cliff). I have found this kind of AT through jogging and writing my morning pages. If your form of AT happens to involve physical exercise, score! If not, that ‘s okay too. You ‘ll just want to find an exercise routine in order to reap the full benefits. Why? Because research indicates that both exercise and attentional training are capable of growing new brain cells. Who doesn ‘t want new brain cells?
Uncertainty is a fact of life. Lots of fear can come with the unknown , but why? If everyone knew exactly what was going to happen, life would get pretty boring quick. This book offers practical advice for transitioning uncertainty from an enemy to an ally. The following excerpt stuck with me:
When you run from uncertainty, you end up running from life. From evolution. From growth. From wisdom. From friendship. From love. From the creation of art, services, solutions, and experiences that move beyond what ‘s been done before to illuminate, serve, solve and delight in a way that matters. In a way that makes you come alive and that people will remember
Give it a go! Evolve! It ‘s a quick read, only about 200 pages. I recommend reading as much as you can in one sitting. Due to all the case studies and resources, it flows well and if your ADD like me it ‘ll sink in better if you make a day of it. Carve out your Sunday and dive in!