Saturday, July 26, 2008

Doubt and Uncertainty

What happens when you're told you're doing something wrong? What happens if you're already uncertain about what you're doing? And what if what you're told you should do seems wrong, too?

I've been struggling with this kind of question on a personal level recently, but it's something that I see often when working with dissertation writers.

There's no really easy answer: the thing is that we have to be able to embrace uncertainty--both our own and that of others and make good decisions moving forward from that. There's a big emotional challenge in that: admitting our own uncertainty creates self-doubt that can interfere with making judgments.

There's also a big emotional challenge in challenging the recommendations of those who give us feedback and who we (hopefully) respect.

Sometimes one person is right and another wrong. But often there are many ways to see an issue, so which perspective do you choose? This is our battle with uncertainty: we cannot logically dispel it; we can only avoid it.

And because logic cannot resolve the issue--emotion gets involved. I think that's the hardest part for me: the turmoil involved in deciding between different courses of action. I hope that if I can be better at embracing the uncertainty, I will feel less emotional turmoil and I will be better able to make decisions and then to act decisively.

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