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We are living in uncertain times. At the beginning of lockdown, we understood what was expected of us. There was certainty. As we move further into easedown, it is uncertainty that is taking hold. And for many of us that represents a challenge. 

Some of you will have heard of Tony Robbins. One of the contributions he has made to the coaching world is his model of Six Human Needs. There are four needs of the personality and two of the spirit. The needs of the personality are essential and we achieve all of these to some degree. The needs of the spirit are more rare and not everyone meets these.

The four needs of the personality are expressed as paradoxes on two scales: significance vs love and connection; and certainty vs uncertainty. The needs of the spirit are growth and contribution.

One of our most basic human needs is the need for certainty. Safety. Comfort. It’s a survival mechanism. And I’m noticing right now how that need is being challenged by Covid-19 and the uncertainty of what the future looks like. How will we school our children? Take our holidays? Generate an income? Save our planet? All massive unknowns as I write this.

When we are pushed deeper into survival, our tolerance for uncertainty reduces and we strive to control our surroundings. We become risk averse. And in some cases, we begin to shut down altogether. 

I’d like you to ask yourself these questions:

How do I go about achieving certainty? What makes me take these actions? How does this make me feel? What benefits am I deriving?  What other needs is this behaviour satisfying? How is this behaviour hurting me? Do I want to continue this behaviour? What’s an alternative behaviour I can adopt to satisfy the need for certainty?

Quite a lot of answers to reflect upon. What we risk is getting stuck by our need to be certain, safe and comforted. In the medium term, Covid-19 isn’t going away. So we will need to grow our uncertainty muscle if we are to move forward with a life of choice and variety.