The delusion of certainty

Published: May, 2015


Many humans, leaders included, exist under an alarming delusion: a belief in a state of continuous calm and order, achieved after a prolonged period of disorder, instability, or chaos.



In life and business, this delusion takes many forms. There are those who often repeat phrases like “when I’m happy” or “when I’m settled,” clinging to the idea that life begins with turmoil but eventually levels out and continues trouble-free until death. In business, similar sentiments are echoed with statements like “when we’re profitable” or “when we take the business public.”

The truth is: change is constant. Uncertainty and change are the norm in nature. If you, as a leader, are seeking certainty, you won’t find any. Periods of turmoil transition into periods of calm, then morph into disasters, and once again manifest as smooth sailing, repeating the cycle.


What does this mean for leaders?


Waking up to the reality of change can be a challenging experience, but understanding the unending nature of change strengthens a leader’s resilience. They perceive business as a process, a series of cycles, rather than something to get right and walk away from. Importantly, certain leaders are better suited for specific business cycles. A leader who grasps this concept is more likely to navigate their career effectively.

From a business perspective, a leader who grounds themselves in the reality of change will prepare effectively for both victories and setbacks. They will know when it’s time to let go of a product, service, employee, or partner. They will give new innovations or ideas sufficient time to develop, and they will be more adept at keeping the team together during crises.

Change evokes fear, and that’s alright. Fear isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s high time to retire the myth of the fearless leader. What truly adds value to firms is a leader who feels the fear surrounding the uncertainty of change—the dreaded ‘what if’—yet continues moving forward, one step at a time.

Previous slide
Next slide

The delusion of certainty

Unveiling the Delusion of Continuous Calm: Leaders believe in lasting order after chaos, yet change is perpetual in life and business. Turmoil transitions to calm, then disaster, repeating the cycle. Raising awareness and applying learnings are key to becoming better leaders and humans in our integrated lives.

Read More »

Fundamentals of a Growth Attitude – Part Two

In this final piece of our two-part series, we continue to unfold the common insights around growth we often encounter in our practice. Significantly, when it comes to one’s mode of existence, the nature vs. nurture debate only touches on the broad spectrum of the human phenomenon. Our experience suggests that the self is a process, and an individual’s self can indeed evolve over time, given the right context and a willingness to embrace change.

Read More »

Fundamentals of a Growth Attitude – Part One

At Nikoleta & Associates, we engage in numerous discussions about growth – both professional and personal – with our peers, clients, and partners. People want to know what it is, and how it can be developed, nurtured, and harnessed.
While we certainly don’t claim to have the final definition, we’ve identified several fundamental aspects of growth-oriented individuals that remain consistent across geography, industries, income levels, education, age, and gender.

Read More »

Other Perspectives you might find interesting…