18 August 2022

INSEAD professor Nathan Furr and entrepreneur Susannah Harmon, authors of The Upside of Uncertainty are convinced that uncertainty brings opportunities. They were discussing that as part of the ReinforceUa project on August 17.

If you are interested in the lectures of prominent public intellectuals, speakers, entrepreneurs, and statesmen join our project at Here are the highlights of the presentation:

- We try to escape the uncertainty, but it has a silver lining. It is not a positive experience, but you can use appropriate instruments to deal with it. There are two types of uncertainty. You choose the first one when we have a great idea. You are working hard but you cannot predict the outcome. Another kind of uncertainty is the one imposed on you.

- We need to understand that uncertainty is one of the key drivers nowadays. Our lives are getting more complicated. Moreover, we do not know how to cope with it. We are facing the dilemma of being trapped by situations that we do not have the skills to deal with. As a result, our tension soars. We are clinging to the mediocre opportunities that help us feel more confident. What is so good in uncertainty then? The chance to become better.

- The research proves that those who live through uncertainty better are more adaptable. We investigated patience and resilience. We surveyed people who face uncertainty as a part of their professional lives such as artists, scientists, businesspeople, paramedics, investors, and gamblers. Thus, we shaped the ideas for our book. It is the result of our 30-year-long effort.

- We are fascinated by positive changes, breakthroughs, innovations, or achievements. But they are enrooted in uncertainty. Those achievers agreed to uncertainty to have opportunities. Think about your own lives: your work success or moving to other places or anything. All those things were intertwined with uncertainty. That’s why uncertainty and opportunity are two sides of one coin.

- At the first glance, externally caused uncertainty may look ugly. Take Venice as an example. It is a unique and beautiful place founded due to uncertainty. When invaders came people moved from the land to the sea and created one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. Whatever happens, we can make the most of it.

- Sometimes it takes years to prepare for action. Always remember the primer or the basic layer that painters apply to the canvass. You can use uncertainty to learn or do things that may show results in the future. Do not discard your ideas at that time, even if something goes wrong.

- Self-doubts can be destructive. Give yourself more time and continue doing things. Finding inner motivation is crucial. If your doubts undermine your optimism, write them down.

- Values are more important than objectives. You can set your objective as making a certain amount of money. But if you miss it, you will be frustrated. That’s why following the values of your activities is more important. They and ethical standards will keep you going.

- What is an uncertainty manifesto? You need to understand what is in your control and what is beyond your control. Uncertainty always wins. Focusing on what you have rather than on what you lose and become a hero who overcomes all difficulties.