Ego puts us on our heels, curiosity puts us on our toes
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” - Voltaire
In the March and April editions of the Uncharted Insider, I chose to share poetry over articles because I was overwhelmed with the amount of content being pumped out about COVID-19. Everyone has become an armchair expert predicting the future, and while one part of me is intoxicated with the witnessing and imagining of how our world will change, the other part of me believes that all of our predicting is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt at reclaiming some sense of control and power in a world that has reminded us how little control and power we have.
Is it possible that our desire to predict tomorrow’s future is actually a desire to feel safe and secure today? The French enlightenment writer, Voltaire, once said, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” In the face of immense uncertainty and unpredictability, how do we act? How do we prepare? Intellectual humility seems essential; it is the basis for nimble leadership. If we’re too busy protecting our need to be right, then we’ll miss out on new patterns and trends that are unfolding.
Ego puts us on our heels, curiosity puts us on our toes. Ian Wilson, a former executive at GE, once said, “No amount of sophistication is going to allay the fact that all your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future." This moment calls for the following leadership formula: curiosity + decisiveness + the intellectual humility to change our minds and course-correct.