in Business, Creativity, Marketing, Motivation, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Science

Mental Placeholder – What We Do With Uncertainty

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

We come to each and every situation with a certain set of experiences and points of view.

If there’s information missing we simply fill in the blanks with our own interpretations.

I don’t feel like there’s really any one true answer to this though. Some people have cultivated a way of being very aware of their biases and actively go against them. But does that really mean that they’re going to end up getting better results?

Well, perhaps not. But at least they’re adressing one of the key issues when looking for answers, questions, content, or information regardless of the platform.

Look at the following phrase: “Kim approached the bank.”

What kind of image did you conjure up in your mind?

Was Kim a man or a woman? What color was their hair? Their skin? Were they approaching by foot, bicycle, a car? Was the bank a bank that handles money or a bank by the river?

Woman & Man Placeholders

Placeholder for uncertainty.

You see, there’s a lot of information lacking and instead of leaning into the discomfort of uncertainty we build up a picture as a placeholder until we can gather further information.

Now, is this good or bad?

I honestly don’t know, but it is what it is.

All I know is that once we understand what we’re actually doing it makes it a hell of a lot easier to manage.


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