August 31, 2014

Uncertainty: A Book About How to Be More Creative

None of us like that feeling of uncertainty that comes when you take a new path in your life or your career.  We don’t like the fear of failure.  Most of us, I’d hazard to guess, would prefer that things be steady and secure.

Yet going through periods of uncertainty and change and even failure can lead us to a better life; a successful business; a rewarding creer; a personal life that fulfills us.

Jonathan Fields Jonathan Fields (pictured right), author of the new business book Uncertainty, writes:

Uncertainty is about what goes on in your head, your heart, and your gut as you strive to create anything truly extraordinary.  It’s about the nutty things we do, the gremlins we battle, the decisions we make and actions we take in the pursuit of long-term, large scale creative, artistic, entrepreneurial, and organizational greatness.

When I first received a review copy of Uncertainty from the author (who I consider a friend and whose personal story I know well), I wondered what kind of book it would be.  Was it a memoir?  Was it a spiritual book?

Certainly there are bits of both of those in the book.  Mostly, though, I’d call this a motivational book or a self-help book — and a perfect one for entrepreneurs and creative professionals.

As the title suggests, this is a book about looking within — but in a positive uplifting way.  It strives to teach you to “lean into fear” in order to be more creative and enjoy your life more.  At its core it is about learning to manage yourself and your thought processes.  Ultimately, this book is about spurring your creativity or as Jonathan says, learning to “transform uncertainty, fear and doubt into fuel for creation.”

Uncertainty

For example, the author discusses creative hives — this is the practice of getting input and feedback and support from others, to fan the flames of your creativity.  Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you can have a creative hive.  The book cites the example of the Illinois woodworker who worked for himself, mostly in isolation suffering from periodic bouts of depression, until he discovered social media and began to supercharge his creativity as he fed off the support and encouragement and creative discussions with others held on social media such as Twitter, via the Internet.

Another technique is to “train your brain” to handle and overcome fear and reach for creative breakthroughs.  How?  One way is through “attentional training” techniques you’ve probably heard of:  physical activity such as mountain biking, transcendental meditation, mindfulness and even hypnosis and self-hypnosis.  These kinds of techniques reduce anxiety and help you focus your mind.  As someone who has used these techniques, including TM and hypnosis, I know that they work .

The point about training your brain is to develop a set of daily practices and mindset shifts that will spark your creativity and keep you from feeling down as a result of fear and uncertainty.

Who this book is for

If you are someone who is not satisfied with your current life or business situation, or you believe there’s creativity  trapped inside and you want to know how to get at it, then this book is for you.  If you’ve lived through fear and uncertainty and want to get to a more enjoyable state with your life, the techniques in Uncertainty can help you achieve that.  You will learn the daily practices that can help you make that leap into greater creativity, with more confidence.

This is not a business book filled with checklists and exercises to do.  Rather, it is a self-help book where you will probably read a chapter or section, and then chew over it in your mind.

And you’ll really enjoy reading this book.  Uncertainty is well-written with colorful and interesting prose.  It has just enough examples to bring human interest to the book.  Even Jonathan’s own story is fascinating — a Wall Street lawyer who one day chucked it all and founded a Yoga studio.

If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy reading this book.  Long before you finish the whole book, you’ll be trying out the techniques to harness and ignite more of your creativity.

Jonathan Fields gives you the boost you need to face down your fears and achieve the creativity you are capable of.

3 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

3 Reactions

  1. Anita: I am all for introspection and learn how to “train the brain,” so I am interested in getting this book. Career Renegade is one of my favorite books, so I bet that I will enjoy the new book by Jonathan Fields new book!

  2. Thanks, Anita,

    Jonathan is a great writer, for sure.

    He’s a deep thinker, and I can’t wait to grab a copy of his new book!

    The Franchise King®

  3. Anita –

    Thanks so much for the kind review.

    This book was a definite departure from Career Renegade. Loved the opportunity to go a lot deeper into what allows great artists and entrepreneurs to go to that place you need to go to do great work, but that also paralyzes so many others.

    One the big wins for me, too, was how much really solid, peer-reviewed, published research there is around creativity, performance, cognitive function and mindset. It was great to be able to overlay so much of what many top-level creators feel intuitively with hard science.

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