Friday, March 27, 2020

Lean Quote: The Mistake is Thinking That There Can Be An Antidote to the Uncertainty

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"The mistake is thinking that there can be an antidote to the uncertainty.  — David Levithan, The Lover's Dictionary

Most people are creatures of habit. When things go as planned, we feel in control. But when life throws a curveball, it can leave us feeling anxious and stressed. For many Americans life feels particularly uncertain lately, with capsized travel plans, indefinite isolation, panic over scarce re-sources and information overload.

Research shows that people react differently to uncertainty, and that those with a higher intolerance for uncertainty may be less resilient and more prone to low mood, negative or down feelings and anxiety.

No one can avoid the unexpected. But these simple steps can help you better face life’s uncertainties.


  • Be kind to yourself. Some people are better at dealing with uncertainties than others, so don’t beat yourself up if your tolerance for unpredictability is lower than a friend’s. Remind yourself that it might take time for the stressful situation to resolve, and be patient with yourself in the meantime.
  • Reflect on past successes. Chances are you’ve overcome stressful events in the past – and you survived! Give yourself credit. Reflect on what you did during that event that was helpful, and what you might like to do differently this time.
  • Develop new skills. When life is relatively calm, make a point to try things outside your comfort zone. Become a continuous learner. Learn new skills, gain new understanding, and apply them during times of change or uncertainty. Taking risks helps you develop confidence and skills that come in handy when life veers off course.
  • Limit exposure to news. When we’re stressed about something, it can be hard to look away. But compulsively checking the news only keeps you wound up. Try to limit your check-ins and avoid the news during vulnerable times of day, such as right before bedtime.
  • Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. When uncertainty strikes, many people immediately imagine worst-case scenarios. Get out of the habit of ruminating on negative events.
  • Take your own advice. Ask yourself: If a friend came to me with this worry, what would I tell her? Imagining your situation from the outside can often provide perspective and fresh ideas.
  • Engage in self-care. Don’t let stress derail your healthy routines. Make efforts to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Many people find stress release in practices such as yoga and meditation.
  • Seek support from those you trust. Many people isolate themselves when they’re stressed or worried. But social support is important, so reach out to family and friends.
  • Control what you can. Oftentimes, we overlook the little things we can do to make life easier while obsessing about the big things we can’t do. Focus on the things that are within your control to give your days and weeks some comforting structure.
  • Ask for help. If you’re having trouble managing stress and coping with uncertainty on your own, ask for help. Psychologists are experts in helping people develop healthy ways to cope with stress.

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