Chapter 12

Uncertainty Balancers

We’ve observed a surprising contrast between what innovators say about their relationship to uncertainty and what they actually do behind the scenes. When we asked for their feelings about uncertainty, we heard responses such as “I love uncertainty” or “I live for uncertainty,” sentiments that can be intimidating and hard to relate to. But when we dug a bit deeper, many of those who claimed to love uncertainty had also gone to surprising lengths to create a great deal of certainty in other parts of their lives. These uncertainty balancers, in the form of habits, routines, rituals, objects, humor, and relationships, served to counteract, or balance, the unknowns they faced.

Sam Yagan has been one of Time’s one ...

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