In 1996 a disaster of historic proportion happened on the peak of Mount Everest. In the entire climbing season, 15 climbers died. Eight of those deaths took place on a single day."
In the corporate world we’re often focused on achieving our goals at all costs. This eventually reaches the status of dogma.
Journalist and mountain climber Jon Krakauer captured this story in his book “Into Thin Air;” he was on the mountain that day.
Krakauer puts part of the blame on the stubbornness of a climbing guide. While there is some evidence to support this claim, most climbers are, by definition, stubborn and arrogant. Yet disasters of this magnitude are rare.
...In this case the teams encountered a traffic jam at Hilary pass that slowed progression, and disregarded their turnaround time. ...Members, however, continued on reaching the summit ...Doug Hansen, a postal service worker from the New Zealand group, was the last to summit. While he made it to the top, the odds were against him ever coming back.
Like seven others, he died on the descent.
...What would it look like to embrace uncertainty?
Professor Saras Sarasvathy interviewed forty-five “successful” entrepreneurs and found a disconnect between our thoughts on entrepreneurs as successfully pursuing a goal-oriented approach and reality.
"An entrepreneur's ...precise endpoint was often mysterious to them, and their means of proceeding reflected this. Overwhelmingly, they scoffed at the goals-first doctrine of Locke and Latham. Almost none of them suggested creating a detailed business plan or doing comprehensive market research to hone the details of the product they were aiming to release."
The most valuable skill of a successful entrepreneur...[is] the ability to adopt an unconventional approach to learning: an improvisational flexibility [including] a willingness to change the destination itself, [using] a set of principles she calls “effectuation.”
“Start with your means. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Start taking action, based on what you have readily available: what you are, what you know and who you know.”
A second is the “principle of affordable loss” ...— ask how big the loss would be if you failed. So long as it would be tolerable, that’s all you need to know. Take that next step, and see what happens.
“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning,” argued the social psychologist Erich Fromm. “Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.” Uncertainty is where things happen. It is where the opportunities — for success, for happiness, for really living — are waiting.
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