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  • Warren Eng

Playing with "Certainty"​ & "Uncertainty"​ Amidst Covid-19


I have been addicted to running 5km every day since the Covid-19 lockdown in Vietnam 5 months ago. Why? This has been a coaching topic with my coach @Ryan Leonhard and has turned into a journey of personal discovery for me. My 5km run has become my daily rite of passage where my “Certainty” meets “Uncertainty”. I know I will feel great every time I complete my run (most of the times) and I know I may not complete it sometimes when I start negotiating with myself at my various personal milestones along the way.


Every time I reached a milestone (eg. 2.4km mark, 3km mark and 4km mark), an inner voice will start whispering to my faltering brain gasping for air: “Maybe today is not a 5km day. Just take it easy. Don’t be so hard on yourself...”. I realised it is the battling of my inner-self during these check-points that makes running so addictive to me. It is exactly at these moments when I know (Certainty) that I don’t know (Uncertainty).


We know what we know, and we don’t know what we don’t know. However, it is when we know that we don’t know that Growth starts to take place. This is the moment we start to expand our comfort zone intentionally to learn, explore and discover new insights about who we are and what we can do.


In times of extreme changes and uncertainties such as now, what is it at the core of your being or your company that is well anchored and will not change (Certainty)? What values, vision and purpose you hold true to your heart that will be your Northern Light amidst this thunder storm?


Conversely, as many companies talk about embracing changes during these challenging times, many are actually just doing more of the same thing, or less of the same thing. They ended up doing the same thing, more or less. They are hanging on too tightly to what they think they know (Certainty). By sliding the equation more towards uncertainty, they start to shift into the zone where they know that they don’t know, magic happens. Companies can then truly embrace uncertainty by either i) doing different things or ii) do things differently. Things may look and feel scary at first, and can be comforted by the company’s culture, vision and values (Certainty). But not changing can mean certain death. 


Certainty and Uncertainty may seem contradictory, but they are actually complementary. The right understanding, balance and interplay between this 2 elements may just be what we need to weather this storm into a new blue ocean.

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