Uncertainty Book Review: 3 Simple Questions to Dissolve Your Fear of Change…


Note: This is a post from Adam Baker, founder of Man Vs. Debt.

Jonathan Fields’ new book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance is being unleashed into the world!

In the video review above, I share my honest feelings about the book along with my two major takeaways from consuming it over the weekend

Uncertainty is something we all deal with.

Anytime we attempt a major life change, we face uncertainty. Anytime we attempt to solve a problem with creativity, we face uncertainty.

We all face uncertainty, but most of us go about this in the wrong way!

We attempt to eliminate uncertainty from our lives. We try to get to a point of absolutely certainty before we take action.

But if we wait around for a moment where we have complete certainty… we end up doing NOTHING!

Anything in life worth doing is going to involve massive levels of uncertainty.

If Jonathan has taught me only one thing, it’s that action in the face of uncertainty is the path to a fulfilling life. In fact, it’s a requirement of a fulfilling life.

Here’s a recap of my takeaways from Uncertainty:

  • Major Takeaway #1: Our fear of being judged is keeping us from living the life that we know is possible. We must take concrete steps to counteract this. (Jonathan covers these early in the book.)
  • Major Takeaway #2: 90% of the fear and doubt of a life change exists only in our heads. You’ll always have some uncertainty, but a few simple questions can dissolve the majority of it almost immediately. (This comes later in the book.)

Jonathan’s three questions (Chapter 9: Own The Story Line)…

My favorite part of the entire book happens in Chapter 9 towards the end.

Jonathan suggests that when we’re faced with any decision or major life change, we need to ask ourselves the following:

  1. Question 1: “What if I go to Zero?” — Write down the worst possible outcome of trying and failing. Be realistic, but be honest.
  2. Question 2: “What if I do nothing?” — Write everything that’ll stay the same if you take NO action to change.
  3. Question 3: “What if I succeed?” — Write down what would happen if you DID accomplish the change or shift in your life. Be as specific as possible.

Whether or not you can get your hands on a copy of Uncertainty, I challenge you to apply Jonathan’s 3 questions to a big decision or change in your own life.

Write down (on paper) your answers to each of the 3 questions.

For me, I didn’t even have to spend time looking at the answers. Just the process of writing down my answers immediately dissolved 90% of the fear and doubt I had attached to a recent decision.

It was almost all in my head!

Give the exercise a try – and I strongly recommend you grab a copy of Uncertainty and read it this weekend.

For more information check out Jonathan’s raw, inspiring book trailer…

[Can’t view the video? Click here for more info (and to watch it in your browser)…]

It’s one of my top three books for anyone who has to creatively solve problems in business or life. And I’m guessing you probably fall into that category. 🙂


Jonathan Fields is a brilliant man.

Uncertainty is a brilliant book.

How do you currently deal with uncertainty in your life?

14 thoughts on “Uncertainty Book Review: 3 Simple Questions to Dissolve Your Fear of Change…”

  1. Love this review Adam!!!! Spot on. I love your take away about the fear of being judged…I just wrote about thinking different and it nearly precludes uncertainty. We live in boxes because we are taught to. We are so afraid of facing judgement and that place of being uncomfortable.

    But isn’t that where we truly excel? I excel the most when I’m scared to send that email, scared to write that post which goes against the grain, scared to ask for the sale, or scared to do something radically different…

    Oh and I am also extending out the book experience. I talked in email with Jonathan and I’m doing a weekly virtual book club for his book over on FB. It’s an open group where we will meet weekly to discuss Uncertainty and I’ve invited jonathan to join in a few times to see how his work is affecting our lives…..that to me is how publishing should be 🙂

    Here’s the link to the group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/278395318839955/

  2. I’m really looking forward to reading this book and feel that this is one of the most important messages needed today. So many experience small, dissatisfying lives in an attempt to feel safe not realizing the the safe-harbor they seek is an illusion and that in their efforts to remove uncertainty and risk in their lives they’re actually increasing their vulnerablility! Because the only “security” that truly exists in life is to expand ourselves so that we’re comfortable — and skilled at — dealing with challenges as they arise. When we spend our days “playing it safe” we don’t eliminate uncertainty we only reduce our ability to cope with it. By stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing uncertainty we consciously and actively strengthen our ability to deal with adversity and also reduce our fear of uncertainty because we began to develop a very powerful belief that whatever challenges lurk in our ever-uncertain world, we know we’re always going to be strong enough to deal with them. Embrace uncertainty; it is the Path to True Piece of Mind!
    Thanks Adam for introducing us to this book. (And for the other essential messages you share!
    Be Present. Expect Success. Live with Passion!

  3. Only recently started to embrace uncertainty to break out of the norm. Quit my job just over a week ago after 8 years at the same place. Moving to Australia. Moving the family and all. No guarantees but man it feels good. Once I realized my life and how I was living it was a choice, it opened up a few other options and opportunities I hadn’t been able to see.

  4. I really loved Johnathons other book and underlined a lot of pages. I will have to check this out. Thanks.
    P.S. I was also told by a old-timer who told me going into business is like having kids. If you wait for the right time you will never have kids or a biz. Always remember progress not perfection and the other side of fear is freedom!
    Till next time ,Cheers

  5. Thanks for giving such a detailed review.

    This is the 2nd financial blog I’ve read today that mentions this book (it must be good). It sounds right on target about the relationship between fear and inaction. I know I’ve witnessed this many times in my own life, and pushing through fear has always been to my benefit. I’ll be picking up this book for further inspiration.

  6. Baker, I just posted on our blog about fear and uncertainty in putting yourself out there – wish I had read yours first! (Mine is in relation to our upcoming launch, but that’s just the latest incarnation of the fear that regularly grips that neurotic 13-year-old drama queen inside of me.) It is somehow reassuring to know that you suffer from the same fears I do.

    For years I’ve tried to calm the fear of doing something new by imagining the absolute best thing that can happen as well as the absolute worst, knowing that most of the time it is going to fall somewhere in the middle. I never thought about imagining what would happen if I did nothing at all and writing out all the things that would stay.exactly.the.same. That might be more motivation than the fear of failure!

    Thanks for the recap of the book – going to download it now.

  7. Thanks for this review. I definitely want to read this book! I absolutely tend to wait to feel “certain” before I do things, on a regular basis. This is a great reminder to step out in faith more and not wait for all the details to align.

  8. Pingback: Uncertainty Book Review: 3 Simple Questions to Dissolve Your Fear of Change… | debtpaydown.com

  9. Question 1 of Chapter 9 rang especially true for me. Often times the “fear of failure” is just a fear of something we haven’t fully thought out. When we take the mystery out of failure, and can wrap our minds around the fact that it’s often not that terrible, then we can allow ourselves to move forward in life.

  10. I really like Question 1: “What if I go to Zero?” — Write down the worst possible outcome of trying and failing. Be realistic, but be honest.

    I do this all the time…this can be a life saver for some people. I just lost a good friend to suicide he was going through some legal problems. I gave him this advice but he was too depressed to follow it.
    R.I.P. Don

  11. I love the three questions you capture from Jonathan’s book. In particular, I think asking what happens if I what I try goes to zero and what happens if I do nothing should shake us into action.

    In my experience, most new things I try–even if crazy ambitious–really have little risk if they go to zero in the early stages. After all, for most we’re not talking about telling our current job to shove it and investing our life savings. We’re just talking about a little personal humiliation or not getting what we want–the big win.

    But, the alternative…

    Wondering what could have been or worse continuing to slog it out in a miserable existence. When you challenge yourself with the questions, uncertainty becomes less of an obstacle.

    Great review! Off to grab a copy.

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