Counterfeit Certainty


Uncertainty is a great marketing tool. Conventional marketing has it that the FUD factor (Fear, Uncertanty, Doubt) is a great way to motivate a prospect to make a decision.

The problem is, it’s only good for marketing something you don’t believe you can get them to believe in. Witness the referendum campaigns (on both sides).

What we might want to reflect on is that certainty is a much bigger danger – mainly because other than in the very short term, it doesn’t really exist. It’s a convenient anaesthetic that the brain craves. Our brains are prediction machines, amd certainty saves them energy.

The problem with certainty is that it breeds habits based on complacency, so that when something that is otherwise obvious in retrospect – from the 2008 crisis, to any disruptive technology or event – it takes us by surprise.

Certainty is great for commerce – it encourages us to buy, to take on debt and to imagine futures other people sell us rather than craft them ourselves

But it’s bad for people – for the same reasons. People who sell us certainty are like counterfeiters – they make their money on the first sale. The person to whom they sold it then picks up the tab. I sell you fake drugs, I’ve made my money, the rest is down to you. .I sell you false certainty, the same applies.No refunds.

Businesses love certainty. Traders love uncertainty.

Certainty is our friend. It opens opportunities to which we might otherwise be oblivious to. The challenge for us is to be prepared to pick them up.

It requires that we have a clear direction – a sense of purpose to which we are committed (and about something bigger than just us). It needs us to associate with those who not only share a similar purpose, and who can help us, but whom we are committed to helping, and it needs to be making the most of our skills, attitudes and dispositions in order to help them, and learn.

Uncertainty requires a combination of self reliance and chosen interdependence. Relationships based on respect, trsut and shared purpose. We are more connected now that at any point in history, and finding those people, organisations and causes are easier than ever before.

We can make possible extraordinary futures if we choose, have a purpose beyond just the shiny gold penny, and are prepared to make the commitment.

As we get into the reality of BREXIT, the last verse of William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus” seems apt:

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

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