It’s been tough to both be realistic and have optimism about the future. There are many questions that can be asked which we have no certain answers for. What will the future be like? When will a vaccine be available? How will COVID be in 2021?

University of Michigan professor Dave Ulrich says that most people resort to one of two options to answer these questions: false hope–trying to manage or control the uncertainty by offering solutions or proposing definite answers; and giving up/giving in–tolerating the uncertainty, accepting the lack of answers and barely reacting to changing conditions. 

Ulrich suggests an option between the two extremes: harnessing uncertainty to have realistic optimism about what can happen. 

But what does harnessing uncertainty mean?

It means turning the threat of not knowing the future into an opportunity by becoming energized, psychologically safe, focused, and agile. Here are six principles to help:

  1. Tame Apprehensions
    Face your fears. Turn your mindset from threats to opportunities.
  2. Envision the Future
    Think of what future success can be. 
  3. Regulate Expectations
    Avoid disappointment by setting realistic expectations. 
  4. Experiment NimblyDiscover new and innovative ideas and solutions to old problems.
  5. Guide Your Choices
    Make choices and decisions based on facts and information. 
  6. Collaborate Frequently 
    Surround yourself with people who can share your process and insights for harnessing uncertainty.

Read more about harnessing uncertainty here.