The Conditions of Uncertainty-Ambiguity

"Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the ground we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." -William Shakespeare


On our tour of the conditions of uncertainty, our next stop is ambiguity. Ambiguity is a condition which causes a lack of decisiveness or commitment resulting in a failure to choose. 


Ambiguity is associated with doubt. Doubt results from the perception that externally, there is a lack of definition that produces tentativeness, imbalance and confusion about the way forward. Sounds like the times we are living through!


Doubt arises when we become afraid of making a mistake. We begin to turn against ourselves and question our ability to see clearly. We become overwhelmed by possibilities and second-guess our capacity to choose correctly from those possibilities that present themselves. What if we're wrong? What if we can't figure out what to do? 


Visionmakers approach ambiguity with a different spirit. They recognize that the way forward is often difficult to discern and that when ambiguity appears, it is a signal to slow down or wait for clarity. It is this maturity and discipline that marks a seasoned Visionmaker.


This is wisdom: not to feel compelled to make a choice because the circumstances dictate that we must. Visionmakers assume responsibility in the face of uncertainty and turn their eyes from the outer world to the inner world. They recognize that all external confusion is a representation of an inner state of confusion. Therefore, if ambiguity is present and the way forward is not obvious, inner work must proceed to regain clarity.


Visionmakers also recognize that they have five centers of choice at their command at all times and in all conditions:


Evaluation, the application of logic, can be applied to situations which require or lend themselves to analysis. Opportunities, problems, conflicts that have mid to long term consequences can be approached from this modality.


Intuition, supports making choice that cannot be made from inductive or deductive thought processes, including matters of the heart, unexpected circumstances that demand an immediate response and ambiguous or paradoxical circumstances. Trusting gut feelings, hunches and insights support intuitive decision-making.


Visualization requires both evaluation and intuition. Reason is applied in order to form, assess and understand a coherent strategy in response to an emerging situation or challenge. Creativity and intuition are marshaled to build a visual narrative in the mind to examine and evaluate potential courses of action.


Instinct is our most ancient guidance system. It is most associated with "body wisdom," the innate knowledge residing in the back, spine, gut, skin and glands. Primary emotions like happiness, anger, fear, and attraction signal to us instinctual direction as do our drives, including, hunger, thirst, safety, territoriality, and survival.


Seeing is the fifth modality, and the way most associated with Visionmaking.  Seeing occurs when the heart is clear of unresolved issues associated with the past, and we are engaged in a healthy relationship with the self. It comes with complete immersion in what we are doing and the ability to trust ourselves even in ambiguous circumstances.


Visionmakers befriend ambiguity. They recognize that life is complex, even grey sometimes. They take such conditions not as a threat but as a reminder that reflection and patience reward those who make their way with care rather than haste.



© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on July 26, 2009 and filed under Uncertainty.