None of us have escaped the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, the U.S. elections, and the economy. Uncertainty can lead to feelings of a loss of control and fear. In the short term, fear may be a powerful motivator. In the intensity of an immediate crisis, fear may be lifesaving. However, in many situations, fear often further clouds the mind and can lead to unproductive or harmful actions. In the long term, fear is increasingly stressful and debilitating.
Openness to new possibilities and thoughtfulness are antidotes to uncertainty and the fear that uncertainty may cause. They reduce uncertainty by shedding light on the immediate challenge. This light can often lead to new solutions and actions. For example, at ABS as we became aware of the pandemic and the possible challenges that it might pose, we analyzed the situation to examine its potential impact and what we could do to mitigate against it.
We did not panic. Conversely, we did not underestimate or hide from the threats that the pandemic posed. We planned and quickly took steps to deal with it to the extent that we could control the situation. To reduce uncertainty, we openly communicated these plans, our estimate of the threat, and tried to involve everyone in efforts to deal with the challenges that we faced. Thus far, we have been fortunate and successful in those efforts.
Undoubtedly, we will face challenges that test our abilities to effectively learn, adapt, and thrive. There are a few things that may help in those situations. The first is a quote from Mark Twain: “I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” It is good to anticipate problems, but it is not helpful to suffer through problems that may never actually materialize. Lastly, anyone can make things better by attitude, solutions focused thinking, action, and kindness. You can be certain of that.