Photo of a calculator and pages of various financial data

We live in a complex and uncertain world where ambiguity abounds. Yet we humans abhor doubt, we so desire a solid foundation beneath us, we prefer the comfort of the known, ambivalence strokes anxiety.

As a businessperson, I’ve learned to embrace probabilistic thinking; that to slap one number on anything, especially future forecasts, is the height of folly. We often do high, low, middle forecasts and to keep our thinking from getting too locked in, at times we had a high ‘frothy’ number and a low, low ‘black swan’ number as well. In the last decade or two, all too many of those outliers have come to pass.

In all areas of our lives, it behooves us to beware our tendencies to leap to deterministic true/false, exclusively black or white conclusions. People are not just good or bad, they are many graduations in between and act differently in different settings and under varying influences. Outcomes are often ‘over determined’ i.e. many factors impact, there’s often multi-explanation for why things turned out the way they did.

Furthermore, beware of leaders with simplistic solutions: The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970, ‘A History of Western Philosophy’, 1945, British mathematician, logician, philosopher)

Closing Quotes:

“The only certainty is that nothing is certain.” – Pliny the Elder, AD 23/24 – AD 79

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” – Voltaire, 1694-1788

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” – H.L. Mencken, 1880-1956, journalist, essayist, cultural critic

“The quality of your life is directly related to how much uncertainty you can comfortably handle.” – Tony Robbins, ‘Unlimited Power’, ‘Awaken The Giant Within’

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier