Giveaway and Interview: Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields

by Tess


Today's interview is with Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance. 


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For those our readers who don’t know you can share a bit about yourself and your new book?

I'm a dad, husband, entrepreneur and author who's curious about the world, especially what makes people tick.

My new book, Uncertainty, is about what uncertainty does to us, how it fuels some people to do great work and cripples others with fear and anxiety and, if you're in the later camp (waves hand high in the air), what you can do about it. It's also about how to live with far greater ease in a world where disruption is the new black. 

What is one thing we can do in order to take action in the face of uncertainty? 

Shut up and act. Sounds counterintuitive, but the fear and anxiety that often ride along with the need to decide and act in the face of uncertainty are anticipatory emotions, meaning they're about how you think you'll feel if you do (or do not do) something in the future.  

Once you've actually done it and you're in the future, you cannot feel the fear and anxiety anymore because there's nothing left to anticipate. You've either succeeded or failed, but at least you have real data to work with instead of demoralizing, baseless self-loathing.  

So, instead of playing out what might happen if you do something, get out of your head, figure out the smallest meaningful action you can take…and take it. You may succeed wildly or you may still fail, but at least you're no longer sitting there spinning yourself into a cage of "might-driven" fear, anxiety and doubt.

What is the biggest fear you’ve overcome recently and how did you reframe it? 

That's hard for me to answer. I live in a state of near-constant evolution and often push myself into a place of amplified uncertainty in the quest to do better and better work. So, it's hard for me to isolate a single event, because it's more of an eternally undulating and expanding fabric of uncertainty and opportunity. 

Why is our environment a critical factor in success?

The environment in which you create–the physical setting, geography, people, culture, support, mission–can either strongly support or subvert any quest to create great art, business and life. BUT, it's also important not to use the lack of an optimal environment as an excuse for inaction and indecision.  

Some of the most powerful creations, ideas and solutions come out of the most dire environments and circumstances. So, environment matters, but the mental overlay you bring to your environment is far more determinative of your success.  

What’s the best advice you have for someone who wants to quit their job in our uncertain times? 

Don't listen to me or anyone else. Your circumstance is individual. I don't know you. I don't know your skills, experiences, needs, desires, aspirations, responsibilities, pain-points, support structures, relationships, outlook, emotional ability to handle the quest, baggage, triumphs, proof or history. Nobody but you does. So  reach out to those who know you and your situation well and whose insights you trust, but in the end, they're not you. You are you. 

Own that, do the work, get as objective as possible by seeking as much data as possible, equip yourself with the skills, strategies and practices to handle the process of change before you decide, accept that you will never have all the answers, then decide based on what you truly believe is best.  

And, if you're at a point where you're experiencing psychological and emotional affects that rise to the level of clinical symptoms, by all means, talk to a professional, someone qualified to help you. Don't rely on a book, speaker, author, blogger or any other shmo (a/k/a "me." lol) to do right by you. 

Do you still have a list of “the cool things” you want to do in your life time? If so what’s on it? 

I don't. I want to be present in the lives of my daughter and wife and do meaningful things in the world with great people. Where that takes me is anyone's guess. It's…uncertain. And also keeps me maximally open to serendipity and opportunity. Because that's where the good stuff in life happens. 

If you could have 60 seconds to give the world a message what would it be?

Be real. Love unconditionally. Be kind. Risk circumstance, not people. 


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    { 27 comments… read them below or add one }

    Sydney Wood November 16, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Looks like an interesting read. Count me in for the draw. Thanks


    Tess November 16, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Thanks for participating! The guy has a brilliant mind and a fun personality.


    Joy November 16, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I *love* this: “keeps me maximally open to serendipity and opportunity. Because that’s where the good stuff in life happens.”
    When we are present–regardless of external–we may create *anything* even with uncertainty, doubt, fear…and magnificent is able to be perfectly placed/experienced because we are open to the possibilty…*magical* indeed:)
    Joy´s last post…Abundance is a State of Being


    Tess November 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Yes Joy I do too. I’m all for serendipity and opportunity! And good stuff happening.Thanks for stopping by. Be well.


    Jennifer (Verilliance) November 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I love the comment about the environment. As someone interested in optimal psychology and brain functioning that’s a topic that I revisit often. Also, finding myself in a non-optimal environment at present has me thinking about this more intensely, so I like the “but” advice. :)
    Jennifer (Verilliance)´s last post…The Brain Judges, So Dress for Success


    Tess November 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Oh yeah I know when I surround myself with clutter my work suffers. Stuffy like;)
    Here’s to happy, bright and clutter free work environments.


    Nate Warden November 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Just finished reading the book myself. Simply. Loved. It.

    Jonathan’s is establishing himself as a great author with tons of resources and research can help you do great work, be more creative and still be true to yourself.

    Thanks for the interview!


    Tess November 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I’m sure Jonathan appreciates your testimonial. Send him a copy…make his day.


    Tabita Green November 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Jonathan is one of the people who inspired me to leave my six-digit salary job in the software industry to do my own thing in a small, open community in the middle of nowhere. This book has been on my wish list since it was released! Pick me! Pick me! (Btw, love your site!!)
    Tabita Green´s last post…Kindle Owners’ Lending Library


    Anne November 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Loved the interview and video. The reviews on Amazon are amazing. One way or another I’ll be checking this book out. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


    KatieP November 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I loved “[it] keeps me maximally open to serendipity and opportunity. Because that’s where the good stuff in life happens.” ~ Brilliant!
    KatieP´s last post…Mindfulness Exercises ~ Free MP3 Downloads


    Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition November 16, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Great interview Tess,
    I like his attitude! Uncertainty certainly does keep us on our toes. Get excited about the prospect of what around the corner, instead of worrying about it, and it will probably turn out to be the most exciting part of your life!
    Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition´s last post…Questions on Developing Intuition


    Cathy Taughinbaugh | Treatment Talk November 16, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Love the interview, Tess! How great that Jonathan took a chance and started a yoga studio. I wanted to leave a comment, but am I’m taking myself out of the contest because I was given a hard copy and have it on my ipad as well. I’m receiving the message that I should read this book. I’m looking forward to it, and will begin shortly. When we realize that we need to start again, life is definitely uncertain.


    Petra November 17, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Hello Tess! Thank you for this wonderful blog and for sharing all these great people with us! You are all such an inspiration for me, trying to live life a little less fearfully. I guess i could really put Jonathan’s new book into use ! :D


    Jen November 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Amen to it all! I like the way Jonathan thinks and more importantly ACTS.

    What a great reminder to constantly try to bring ourselves to the being we were meant to be…all the while still living in the present. Loved his response that he wanted to just be there for wife and little girl and allow life to be open.

    Awesome. Thanks Tess. Just love these interviews and bright lights you bring to your blog!
    Jen´s last post…Simple Gifts


    Suzie Cheel November 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I love reading Johnathon and yes the video is wonderful, so inspiring and yes ACT, ACT, Act otherwise you will never shine your light
    Suzie Cheel´s last post…Intuitive Hearts #16 and #17


    Maia Duerr / The Liberated Life Project November 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Hey Tess,

    Thanks for sponsoring this giveaway… please throw my name in the hat!

    Maia Duerr / The Liberated Life Project´s last post…The World is Falling Apart and 5 Reasons Why That’s a Good Thing


    Bryan Thompson November 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Great interview, Tess and Jonathan! I’m looking forward to getting the book! Uncertainty can certainly be a scary and volatile place, but it can also be a place where we grow as human beings. I have heard a lot of emphasis lately about acting based on our gut rather than overanalyzing. I think there’s a lot that we’re learning about ourselves as a society. And so much more to go.
    Bryan Thompson´s last post…5 Ways to Make a Difference Without Spending a Nickel


    Betsy at Zen Mama November 18, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Loved the interview, Tess and Jonathan! The book sounds amazing!! It’s a fascinating subject. I esp. like your 60 second message. I’d love the book so I’ll definitely tweet the post!
    Have a great day!!
    Betsy at Zen Mama´s last post…Celebrate Thanksgiving Every Day!


    James November 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    book sounds interesting


    David Stevens November 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Tess,
    Yes, the video sets the scene for someone wishing to know more…..The “fear” question I think deserved a more direct response. The last 2 questions are great and so were Jonathan’s answers. Thank you for sharing.
    be good to yourself


    Katie Bartell November 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Wow, this book is perfect for me. I tend to doubt myself farrrr to much. I would love to read this book! Great blog post! I enjoy reading interviews!


    Rose Byrd November 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    “Once you’ve actually done it and you’re in the future, you cannot feel the fear and anxiety anymore because there’s nothing left to anticipate.” WOW, such affirmation from another writer, after only 8 weeks into my return to writing every day after decades of self-effacement and faking “fitting in”. Bushel baskets full of appreciation for this post today. So very much needed!


    Galen Pearl November 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    “You are you. Own that…” This was the key for me. Seems like accountability and taking responsbility is a theme now on several blogs, including mine.

    I thought this was an interesting take on uncertainty. The advice to act in the face of uncertainty rather than be paralyzed by fear is one perspective, and a good one. I think others, myself included, are often so uncomfortable with uncertainty that doing most anything seems better than the discomfort of not knowing. So I sometimes act precipitously when wisdom would caution patience.

    This really got me to thinking. And that’s always a good thing–thanks!
    Galen Pearl´s last post…Grace Did It!


    Shirley November 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I love Jonathan’s message: “Be real. Love unconditionally. Be kind. Risk circumstance, not people.” Life is a gift. We mustn’t waste our time, and especially not worrying about uncertainty. I know we must go with the flow, and sometimes we will move through what seems like darkness into a new light. We need to make things happen. Use our opportunities. Know what we stand for. Walk our paths. Jesus said something like: “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. I’d love a copy of this book to learn how to utilise my own uncertainty, learn how to see my own path, and walk away victorious, making a difference in some way.


    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog November 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Wow. Uncertainty. It stops so many people from a new beginning. From living our dreams. From forgiving family or friends. Things get so scary. It’s easy to do the same exact thing, even if it isn’t working for us. And yet, the uneasiness is the simple fact that there is uncertainty in that.

    We have one chance. Live it.

    Would love to read this book! And yes it is still the 18th here in Hawaii :)

    Aloha Wags!
    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog´s last post…The Grateful Dog Project


    Harmony November 19, 2011 at 2:26 am

    You may succeed wildly or you may still fail, but at least you’re no longer sitting there spinning yourself into a cage of “might-driven” fear, anxiety and doubt.
    That is so relevant for me at the moment. Major work changes for the third time in 8 months, and trying to find a way thorugh it all that is positive, and does not lead to a state of self despair


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