International Journal of Applied Psychology

p-ISSN: 2168-5010    e-ISSN: 2168-5029

2020;  10(2): 21-31


Received: July 20, 2020; Accepted: August 6, 2020; Published: August 13, 2020


Living Uncertainty in the New Normal

Mohamed Buheji 1, Dunya Ahmed 2, Haitham Jahrami 3

1International Inspiration Economy Project, Bahrain

2University of Bahrain & Bahrain Inspiration Economy Society

3Ministry of Health, Bahrain

Correspondence to: Mohamed Buheji , International Inspiration Economy Project, Bahrain.


Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Scientific & Academic Publishing.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).


To understand that we are living in an unprecedented human historic transformation, we need to manage and mitigate its uncertainty. It is an opportunity that defines the fate and momentum of the next generation. This paper explores uncertainty mechanisms in new normal and how the behavioural coping of uncertainty could lead to a positive psychological outcome as inspiration, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Factors that affect uncertainty are analysed to understand the relation of inspiration vs uncertainty. The questionnaire measures the criteria for the moments of strengths and weaknesses in the uncertainty journey. The findings show the effects of COVID-19 on uncertainty status and how this uncertainty affects and change life towards the inspiration possibility. The paper proposes a ‘flipping point’ matrix of when uncertainty could turn to have a positive effect and could help to more engage with Communities Problems. The implication of this study is that it offers ‘customised solutions’ for those would go through ‘status of uncertainty’, and it would help to support the efforts of mitigating some of the mental health risks and diseases that are related to the increase of uncertainty in one’s life during different circumstances or stages of life, or when trying to survive during a disastrous or international emergency situation as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Uncertainty, New Normal, Inspiration Economy, Resilience Economy, Fear Areas of the Brain, Ambiguity

Cite this paper: Mohamed Buheji , Dunya Ahmed , Haitham Jahrami , Living Uncertainty in the New Normal, International Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 10 No. 2, 2020, pp. 21-31. doi: 10.5923/j.ijap.20201002.01.

1. Introduction

Similar to what we are taught when we want to refine and improve the results of our measurements, there are many sources that lead to uncertainty. For example, instability, the shake-up to be away from the routines, the drift from life relaxed choices, the fuzziness, the non-availability of clear best practices are all sources of uncertainty. McCloy (2020), Trujillo et al. (2018).
Uncertainty requires willingness, which increases the preoccupation of the mind and enhances its capacity for thinking about hidden future events in a variety of forms. The individual's psychological ability (self-esteem) and physical ability besides the social impact have a great role in defining the type of uncertainty and its outcomes. Berthomé et al. (2012).
The literature review in this paper defines uncertainty as a status and a mechanism of resilience in the New Normal, Maddi and Khoshaba (2005). The researchers explore the challenges and the importance of living uncertainty caused by COVID-19 pandemic and its spillovers. The literature shows the learning from uncertainty and how it can influence both organisation and community cultures, besides individuals. Buheji (2018).
The literature review shows the behavioural coping and uncertainty during COVID-19 pandemic and the factors that affect it. The role of mindset in controlling uncertainty is discussed in detail; besides the dimensions of the study are defined and analysed.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Defining Uncertainty

In physics, the uncertainty principle happens from a variety of positions or momentum. The principle was introduced by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg in 1927, where he defined the uncertainty as the status of when momentum is less precise occurs when the particle is precisely determined. It is a status when both the momentum and the particle cannot be predicted from initial conditions, and vice versa. Thus, as per physics, you enter the uncertainty state when you cannot know where something is and know its momentum at the same time. Such status brings an ‘unstructured, chaotic system’.
Also, uncertainty is an important knowledge component, in the discipline of management and psychology especially. When we have distorted thinking about ‘the Self’ and the future, uncertainty brings in possibilities for chaotic thinking. The uncertainty might be about how to perceive a person and interpret events; it is the individual's thoughts that determine responses. Through controlling the uncertainty, we can enhance our interpretation of reality and overcome recognised self-information.
Uncertainty increases when our causes for feeling uncertain are not clear. Hence, the best way to manage uncertainty is to write what you are not certain about and to be specific. Making our uncertainty more specific will help us to improve our capacity to tolerate it. In uncertainty, we need to study the extent of both personality or beliefs, the factors related to the nature of the situation and nature of the event. The inability to adapt to the challenges and compensate uncertainty with aspirations would make us lose lots of opportunity of the current reality. Berthomé et al. (2012) see that uncertainty comes from loneliness, or fear, such as fear of illness or failure.
When we live the status of uncertainty, we would have a group of psychological and behavioural traits or negative thoughts or avoidance of accepting reality behaviour. This situation would cause withdrawal from constructive activities, unless the psychological traits start to see the positive opportunities with this uncertainty status.

2.2. Uncertainty and Mechanism of Resilience in New Normal

Resilience is the most important tool for living uncertainty. If we learn to build up practices that lead to resilient pathways and outcomes, uncertainty would be expected as the norm. Buheji (2020a).
If uncertainty persists without the mechanism of resilience, we should expect a detrimental effect of stress on health and performance, which leads to both physical and mental strain, Buheji et al. (2020a). Thus, the availability of resilient culture helps to bring in a collection of cognitive, behavioural mechanisms, and biophysical practices. Berthomé et al. (2012), Maddi and Khoshaba (2005).
Since the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the early month of 2020. a new world system has imposed itself and set new mechanisms on all the globe. Understanding how to deal with the ambiguity of radical transformation to the world would define the success of the communities that would survive the change and exploit its new opportunities. Buheji and Ahmed (2020).
The radical changes in the performance expected, besides the new player in the different sectors would be another source of uncertainty, Trujillo et al. (2018). With the new era, the state of uncertainty strength and weakness could increase, which are pushing us to take advantage of this ‘generation-defining moments’ and raise our capacity to build new learning. The collection of these learning would establish a new mindset that creates a new capacity and new thought. These moments unless utilised would turn into a source of ‘lost opportunities’ and the accumulated psychological pain that causes mental illnesses.

2.3. Living Uncertainty Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic & Its Spillovers

In the last few months since the early of 2000, our life became filled with uncertainty. As we live these moments of uncertainty created by COVID-19 pandemic, we need to use tolerance tools that improve our resilience in seeing the opportunities of living and the livelihood possibilities during these moments. Buheji and Ahmed (2020), Clark (2020).
With current life problems and pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the expectations and orientations towards the future are highly disturbing. Uncontrolled future concern increases anxiety about the future and the fear of the unknown.
The pandemic is creating future foreseen problems, which increases our distrust of the coming future. People even are feeling more insecure and fear of more sudden unexpected changes which keep them living ambiguity while raising their anxiety and confusion. This extreme uncertainty about the future may result in irrational thinking and fear of expected bad events, Clark (2020). This status if persist, would keep us more confused, distressed, angry, and with a negative perception of life. The lack of the ability to predict the future may arise when we lack sufficient information to build ideas about it, Buheji et al. (2020a). This also increases when we doubt the ability of those around us to solve the different problems arising. Trujillo (2016).
Studies confirm that accepting to live and deal with the reality of ambiguity, this affects our thinking angle and enhance our natural and logical limits and making us ready for all possibilities thus help us to confront sudden expected events with more confidence and challenge.
Living uncertainty helps to plan for the future by taking into account the immobility restrictions and the level of ambiguity that are leading to the post-COVID-19 new normal, Buheji and Sisk (2020). This increases the need for flexibility and resilience, which prevent psychological destruction that creates a lack of focus and improves the standard of living. Buheji (2020a).
Despite many things became outside our control due to COVID-19 pandemic; our mindset is still the key in coping with difficult circumstances and in facing the unknown, Buheji et al. (2020). Dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic has heightened uncertainty over what would happen to our current and future life and livelihood. The sustained feeling of uncertainty can leave us stressed, and powerless, which lead to emotional drain and trap us in “what-ifs” scenarios.
Despite the COVID-19 brought unprecedented changes, still many people are trying to live in the past, and so worried about their future. However, we can change this future through being more curious creatures that accept uncertainty as being natural status, even though unavoidable part of life. When we have control over many things, we cannot control everything that happens to us. As the coronavirus outbreak has shown, life can change very quickly and very unpredictably. Buheji (2019).
Allowing ourselves to experience uncertainty can help us in reducing stress, and find a sense of peace as you deal with challenges. Denying or suppressing our emotions about uncertainty will only increase stress and anxiety and make us more vulnerable to depression. Buheji et al. (2020a).

2.4. Behavioural Coping and Uncertainty During COVID-19 Pandemic

The behavioural coping helps to transform stressful events into less stressful ones. Therefore, individuals high in hardiness are believed to react to stressful events by increasing their interaction with these events. This brings more opportunity for growth and a greater understanding of the moment. Buheji et al. (2020b).
Cognitive dissonance occurs when we participate in actions while we contradict our beliefs, ideas, or values. This creates situation unless mitigated or managed could create psychological stress due to the continuous discomfort caused by clashing with perceived facts. Here, the person tries to resolve the contradiction to reduce their stress or discomfort. Buheji et al. (2020a).
Those do not accept to live in uncertainty they would strive to function mentally in the real world. At the same time, those experience inconsistencies can have differentiation in their capacity for possible cognitive dissonance. To reach such level of accepting uncertainty, they use many coping mechanisms. Buheji et al. (2020b).

2.5. Factors that Affect Uncertainty

There are many factors that help eliminate feelings of uncertainty—for example, feeling of belonging, whether within the community, or the family, or the school in general. The individual's willingness to interact with fear as well as accumulated personal experiences and trends be it social, economic and cultural factors help to minimise the effect of uncertainty. McCloy (2020).
Other factors that affect uncertainty and our capacity to mitigate it are the levels of spiritual and moral values where they are related to psychological pressure that help self-defeating thoughts are important. The negative thoughts bring in a ‘physiological readiness’ condition which leads to maturity and help to mitigate fear, stress irritation, distraction, and inability to focus. Visch (2009).
Uncertainty increases when radical transformations create a loss of stability and difficulty of seeing opportunities in the ambiguity. During this stage, the loss of safety increases the feeling of uncertainty and thus the inability to plan for the future due to the sudden transformative conditions.
The factors that effects of uncertainty also depend on the type of profession or responsibility of day to day living. For example, the frontline workers confronting the COVID-19 disease different from the uncertainty of those sitting at home with no pressures, with no threat of diseases. Hence, each one of us would have his own type and level of uncertainty and managing this status would need to be customised as per the situation. McCloy (2020), Visch (2009).

2.6. Role of Mindset in Controlling Uncertainty

Mindset plays a great role in making us focused on controlling things and challenge our need for certainty. Through our mindset, we can learn to tolerate, embrace, the inevitable uncertainty of life, which reduces our anxiety and stress levels. Buheji et al. (2020a).
While we cannot control the spread of the virus and the frequencies of the lockdowns and its impact on our socio-economic life, we can transform our mindset to focus on aspects within our control, Buheji and Ahmed (2020b). For example, planning for a new life adventure or mission or milestone based on what we learned from the pandemic, or the opportunities discovered in it. Buheji and Ahmed (2020), Trujillo (2016).

2.7. The Need to Live with Uncertainty

The authors, in Buheji and Ahmed (2019) youthineering book; brought a concept dedicated to optimise the youth spirit and energy while bringing in change from uncertainty. They emphasised in youthineering that overcoming fear is the most important flipping point in this journey. Exploring and creating a change, especially when life comes in a confusing state due to the COVID-19 pandemic; proven to be also a stage where we can re-invent our lives. Thus, humanity in general needs to more accept to live in a state of uncertainty, at least once a while, Buheji (2018). The management of fear starts with overcoming the reaction that is triggered after the association of the opportunities and the choices with sensory cortex first, as shown in Figure (1). The fear of ‘Uncertainty Status’ then needs to be managed more in the Thalamus, the Hypothalamus, the Amygdala and the Hippocampus in consequence. Buheji (2019).
In order to go through the ‘Uncertainty Status’ journey, we need to accept to move from the area of rest where we feel safe, to the area we would need to overcome difficulties. Once we start dealing with the challenges and problems with confidence, we would enhance our experience through specific learning areas. The process of managing the uncertainty would start by breaking the fear by “learning by doing”, or “learning by trial”, or “learning by experience” and “learning by failure” which help to manage the ‘Emotional blocks’. Overcoming such emotional blocks would include anything from a ‘fear of risk-taking’ to a ‘tendency to judge’, or approach the problem with a ‘negative attitude’.
Figure (1) shows a moment when we shift from what causes uncertainty to how to optimise the benefits and the positive effects of uncertainty, once we overcome fear. One could call that this a humility moment also. Accepting this ‘Humility moment of Uncertainty’ means we might go to a level beyond a calculated risk. This brings the well to create decisions at the right time, irrespective of the outcome. I.e. we are going to be judged about the momentum of the decision, not the outcome only. Accepting, or embracing the humility of making a decision when we are uncertain of the situation is what would help us to cultivate the benefits of the moments of uncertainty. Buheji (2018).
Figure (1). Mitigating the State of Fear to the State of Uncertainty Acceptance
Figure (1) teach us that we need to think when we learn from failing and overcoming the stages of fear. Immunising ourselves from fear will not help us to really explore major developments, and it would lead only to growth.
To live a status like now, i.e. during the pandemic of COVID-19, i.e. when we do not know when we are going to be infected, or whether or not we will survive if we get infected, or whether our business would survive, or what type of business model we need to adopt due to the coming challenge; we need to overcome the area of fear. Overcoming this uncertainty moment due to COVID-19 is preparing us for being more acquainted with the uncertainty of living with any unknown as living disease, or sudden disastrous shocks. Hence, we can foster many of our potentials as creativity, and inspiration by accepting to live with the fear created by the moments of uncertainty. Buheji (2020c), Clark (2020).

3. Methodology

3.1. The Uncertainty vs Inspiration Study

An online self-reported questionnaire was designed by the researchers and developed with the cooperation of Inspiration Economy experts from more than 12 countries. The parts are focused on understanding the state of uncertainty after the COVID-19 pandemic. The questionnaire was developed by using google forms, with a consent form appended to it. The link of the questionnaire was sent through emails, WhatsApp and other social media to the contacts of the Inspiration Economy project. The participants were encouraged to roll out the survey to as many people as possible. Thus, the link was forwarded to people apart from the first point of contact and so on. Buheji (2020c).
The questionnaire included basic demographic variables age category, sex, job status, and level of education. The main survey items were 18 items: 13 items to measure uncertainty and 5 items to measure the level of inspiration.

3.2. The Research Main Dimensions

Uncertainty, inspiration and cultural dimensions scores were tabled in Excel Sheet, then were analysed using Tableau Desktop Software to visualise the relationships and define the future metrics between the main variables.
Clustering method has been used in the study to analysing the findings to estimate the results of the study. The clustering method and optimal matching produced interesting results in different areas (Abbot and Tsay, 2000). In addition, in this research, only questions related to two main variables were analysed. “Uncertainty” and “Inspiration”, to look at the relation between them and their perspective in a time of COVID-19. The effect of culture as a dependent variable was considered to be out of the scope of this research. As shown in Tables (1). Buheji, (2020c).
The uncertainty dimension items were: 1) COVID-19 affects negatively on my psychological & social status; 2) I feel unstable and unsecured with my future plans because of the COVID-19; 3) I think that a challenge like COVID-19, is a great growth driver for humans; 4) The world economy will change dramatically in a few years because of the COVID-19; 5) We have to develop new policies for social and personal communications because of the world COVID-19 experience"; 6) We have to develop new security policies in the field of business protection because of COVID -19; 7) New crises – bring new opportunities, it's better to stay positive; 8) Governments are the main force responsible to solve the problems caused by COVID-19 and should offer solutions; 9) Each person should find their own way to fight the COVID-19 issues"; 10) The positive social environment is the main force of protecting people from negative effects of COVID-19; 11) The digital environment is the only possible way to prevent health crises spreading in future; 12) Each person should take more precautions towards personal health and hygiene; 13) Psychological effects of COVID-19 must be analysed in depth to give new advices on how to behave in similar cases in future.
The inspiration dimension items were: 1) Mindset change (perceptions) about life after COVID-19; 2) Life purposes after COVID-19; 3) My readiness to other coming crises; 4) I see how the world is small; 5) Appreciate how much we need to be resilient as a community. Buheji (2020a), Maddi and Khoshaba (2005).
The total score was created by the arithmetic mean of the items. The questionnaire was both in Arabic and English, and the data was designed to be collected in all the countries that can be reached through accessing the link of google docs. Each research coordinator was encouraged to collect samples of the proposed questions from at least 3 to a maximum of 5 participants, before the final corrections of the questionnaire.

3.3. Criteria for Moments of Strengths in the Uncertainty Journey

There are mainly four criteria’s that define the moment of strengths which complement and overlap each other to help capture the moment and turn it into positive short- and long-term experience even when much of situation is within our control:
3.3.1. The ability to proactively manage foresighted stressful life events and respond to them through adaptation that transforms painful conditions into learning opportunities at the right time.
3.3.2. A state of strength that is characterised by a tendency to engage deeply and a desire to learn from life's events regardless of results.
3.3.3. The ability to maintain obligations, that is, participation in all aspects of life and livelihoods, while working to enhance the capacity to control the impact on life outcomes.
3.3.4. Consider that whatever happens these are considered as challenges that are building continuous learning, regardless of whether we live positive and negative experiences.

3.4. Criteria for Moments of Weaknesses in the Uncertainty Journey

There are mainly four criteria’s that define the moment of weaknesses which complement and overlap each other to help capture the moment and turn it into positive short- and long-term experience, even when much of situation is outside our control:
3.4.1. Realising that the importance of these challenges provides continuous learning opportunities from negative experiences.
3.4.2. As we continue to live in stressful and sustainable conditions, as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic), we are expected to go through a condition called disability. This would create a physical illness or mental health problems that would lead to lead collapse or underdevelopment of the world resources and supply chain; unless we bring creative solutions that contribute to adapting to the situation which outside our control.
3.4.3. In order to get out of the situation of (weakness), we need active adaptation plans instead of negativity or (denial) that help confront and deal with stressful events.
3.4.4. Mitigate weakness behaviours by exploiting support from the variety of community assets, i.e. the social assets, the physical assets, the natural assets, the human assets. Then we need to visualise building from these assets a new reality.

4. Research Findings and Application

4.1. Research Findings

Based on the data analysed by the questionnaire which was carried out during the early four months since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the following Tables (1), (2) and (3) were defined. The tables target to measure the effect of COVID-19 on uncertainty status and how this uncertainty affects and change life towards the inspiration possibility. While Table (3) represents the type of clusters that defines the four relations of Low Inspiration and Low Uncertainty, High Inspiration and Low Uncertainty, Low Inspiration and High Uncertainty, High Inspiration and High Uncertainty.
Table (1). The effect of COVID-19 on Uncertainty Status
Table (2). Shows How this uncertainty affects and change life towards the inspiration possibility
Four clusters were defined to measure the relation between “Uncerteinity” and “Inspiration”, as shown in Table 3 and Figure 2 below.
Table (3). Clusters of the Inspiration vs Uncertainty of the Data Collected
Figure (2). Shows the Relation between Uncertainty and Inspiration
The findings show that there is no direct relation among four clusters as the sample was almost divided in the same pattern as shown in Figure (2) which shows the relation of uncertainty in the four clusters.
Figure (3) shows the relationship between uncertainty and inspiration for the male and the female types, where the females are shown in larger circles while the males are in smaller dots.
Figure (3). Relation between Uncertainty and Inspiration by sex

5. Discussion

5.1. Learning to Cope with Uncertainty

As we continue to live the sustained challenges of a lockdown or social distancing caused by the pandemic of the COVID-19, or its spillover. These stressful exposures create a strain of reactions that will continue to build up, the functionality and lead to a performance deficit. This would create physical illness or mental health problems that would lead to breakdown; unless hardy coping attitudes occurs. Buheji et al. (2020b).
Thus, to cope with uncertainty, people need to have active rather than passive hardy coping strategies. These strategies help to face and cope with stressful events thus support living with uncertainty. This type of coping leads to hardy behaviours, where social support could enhance the capacity to manage uncertainty again. Such people would know when to do healthy and profitable practices, i.e. know when to relax, communicate or create value-added differentiation. Maddi and Khoshaba (2005).
To cope with all this uncertainty, many of us use worrying as a tool for trying to predict the future and avoid nasty surprises. Worrying can help us feel some type of control over uncertain situations; however, it will not help us to find a clear outcome-based solution. Continuous worrying found to keep us unfocused and dissipates our energy to manage the uncertainty, or to mitigate its negative spillovers, or to exploit its hidden opportunities. Therefore, coping with uncertainty needs an aligned pull thinking mindset that is selective in the approach of what to cope with and focus on.

5.2. Framework for Management of Uncertainty in New Normal

As a result of the outcome of both literature review and findings, we need to establish a framework that raises our capacity to look beyond the challenges, establishes trustworthiness, proactiveness, using multidisciplinary holistic perspectives, and mitigate risks. This uncertainty could be exploited more by both critical, curious thinking and clarity of life purpose. This set the basis for a framework that can be seen in Figure (4). Buheji, M (2019).
Figure (4). Requirements for Management of Uncertainty in the New Normal

5.3. Tolerance Living with Uncertainty During COVID-19

The death toll from this COVID-19 and the speed of the casualties created threats of the way we live and moved us to a profound sense of uncertainty.
Therefore, one of the main purposes of this research was to see how we can improve the tolerance of uncertainty so that we minimise mental health diseases, including high anxiety during the pandemic and move the world to cultivate the benefits of this status. The sudden halt of the whole world, which led to chaos in all the socio-economic activities influenced the depth of uncertainty of the future of our lives and livelihood. Buheji and Ahmed (2020b).
Levels of living uncertainty are gained in the type of practices; hence tolerance needs to be built around these practices to create the pull-thinking mindset that would see the benefits of this great ambiguity exercise. Thus, generating avoidance, or an escaping behaviour, or anxiety responses, could be mitigated by the development of curiosity, as a result of these accidental events. Many people do not take or strive for the last one, i.e. they go to being anxious instead of being curious.

5.4. Mounting Uncertainty as a Sign of the New Normal

Uncertainty has been in our lives, even under normal circumstances. We used to come through moments of uncertainty in relevance to our jobs, health, relationships, finances, etc. Hence, uncertainty has been there and would be there, as long as we do not know the future, even if we try now to predict it or foresight it. Buheji (2020b).
Living with uncertainty did not start with COVID-19 pandemic, however, the alarming profound uncertainty cases of many people in the globe during the specific early months of years 2020 which reached an immense scale, made it a critical topic to be explored. The pandemic as a problem has profoundly altered our life while its duration is unknown, and the same applies to its long-term economic and social consequences.

6. Conclusions and Recommendations

6.1. Eliminating Uncertainty through Engagement with Communities Problems

Living in Uncertainty during COVID is highly related to how the economy and the socio-economic situation would be recovered. By focusing on the aspects of the community problem, we can control our attitude and emotional response. It is clear that V-shape economic recovery is not possible, and thus, this increases the possibility of uncertainty. Even for those who feel they are financially secure, they are worried more as a result of the pandemic and the fast-coming new normal about the possibility of a global societal collapse, or not being ready for the birth of a new era. Buheji and Sisk (2020).
When we are engaged with the community during the extraordinary times of the pandemic, we build tolerance that helps to manage the uncertainty. Through engaging with community projects, we build a type of network that helps us to improve our tolerance of uncertainty and find inside its opportunities. The network would help us to disseminate positive energy from those who have a high tolerance, i.e. who do not mind to live in ambiguous, or unpredictable situations which lead to low uncertainty tolerance. Such people would stay to be most comfortable with routines, order, and prefer the familiarity with the conditions around them. Such people would stay with a high anxiety level when situations become ambiguous and unpredictable, like the circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic.

6.2. Learning from How Inspiration Embraces Uncertainty

All the inspired that we have read about in history or in our lifetime would confirm going through a ‘fuzziness space’ to realise the change they are striving for. Due to unfamiliarity with this great source of inspiration and mindset, most people treat this type of uncertainty as a disease, or something wrong or dangerous. While the alternation from our ‘status quo’ give us real opportunities for many solutions, or potential improvements of our life journey.
As per Buheji (2019), Figure (5) shows how to design a curious life that would optimise the uncertainty to the benefit of finding the right problem before finding the right solution. If humans remove their ego and ‘accept humility’ and understand that we are not born to know the unknown unless we accept to live it. Accepting to exploring the unknown could help to build a mindset that deals with uncertainty and manage the alternation of its waves. This type of achievement starts only with accepting to pass the area of fear, by simply trying to explore it. Once we are excited by the positive opportunity, or sudden shock like the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it changed our life, we create another alternation wave to exploit more the fuzziness we are going through.
The frequency and time for the alternation of the uncertainty wave would help us to dare to exploit to see more opportunities hidden inside the challenges we are facing. Linking these challenges and opportunities would make us enter the ‘testing of outcome’ phase. This phase would create another transformation that would lead to discovering and developing the opportunities to reach a phase where we start to deliver an outcome and sustain it. Buheji (2019) calls this exercise the curiosity code to exploit any type of uncertainty.
Figure (5). Shows how the Alternation of Uncertainty is related to the level of Curiosity

6.3. Proposed Matrix of Flipping Point in Positive and Negative Uncertainty

Based on the proposed framework in Figure (5) about the requirements for ‘management of uncertainty’ and the discussion of the finding of the data, a proposed matrix is set in Figure (6), for defining the ‘flipping point’, i.e. the certainty point of the uncertainty that would help to differentiate and plot the difference of what would make the experience of uncertainty being positive or negative. i.e. would turn a negative uncertainty to become positive and vice versa.
The ‘flipping point’ defines the start of what could be built to create the momentum and the meaningful change that would turn the uncertainty state to a state for inspiration.
Figure (6) represents the proposed matrix which could measure or locate the ‘flipping point’, i.e. the point where the uncertainty turned to a ‘source for inspiration’ instead of being a ‘source of stress or anxiety’. Further studies are recommended in this area.
Figure (6). Matrix of Inspiration vs Uncertainty – Flipping Point

6.4. The Implications and Limitations of This Study

The main implication of this study is that it offers ‘customised solutions’ for those would go through ‘status of uncertainty’ due to both a sudden uncontrollable event like the COVID-19 pandemic, or due to other hidden or known challenges. The other implication of this study is that it would help to support the efforts of mitigating some of the mental health risks and disease that are related to the increase of uncertainty in one’s life during different circumstances or stages of life, or when trying to survive during a disastrous or international emergency situation as COVID-19 pandemic.
The implication of this paper goes to address that accepting to surpass the fear of uncertainty can help us to even turn our business up-side-down to try what the new normal needs. Acceptance of uncertainty means that while we are striving to be the best among the next era coming players, we need to accept a high number of failures and disappoints. Buheji and Sisk (2020).
However, the limitation of this research is that this ‘customised solutions’ proposed could not be generalised without deeper large sample piloted interviews and for the different demographics, i.e. age, gender, financial status, education, profession, etc. Therefore, further research is recommended for more realisation of the status or the characteristics of uncertainty. Besides, the knowledge community needs to address more the time or circumstances and the tools required for the ‘flipping point’ of when uncertainty can be turned towards being a tool for a positive psychological outcome, i.e. a trigger for visualisation or inspiration; instead of a status of mental health risk.
The other limitation of this research is that more factors need to be developed for measuring the status of inspiration and uncertainty. The scope of this research could not cover the certainty and its influence on inspiration.

6.5. Final Words

This paper emphasised that life is not black and white, but rather shades of grey. The other emphasis of this paper is that we can create certainty in uncertainty. Although ambiguity and fogginess are a symptom of inspiration, uncertainty may be identified as a different stage or level. As we are still experiencing the uncertainties of the new normal, the current frequencies of ambiguity need to be further tested.
More initiatives for global studies need to continue to be created to realise the effects of both negative and positive ‘moments of uncertainty’, even beyond those studies that show the role of these in influencing inspiration. Studying the ‘influence of uncertainty’ in creating new mental health diseases due to COVID-19 pandemic might help us to deal with the high uncertainty in those starting ‘psychologically distress’ without resorting to medications. This exactly why we emphasis analysing the ripple-effects that would happen when both fear and uncertainty becomes chronic and uncontrollable.
Understanding the uncertainty cannot be more emphasised without visualising that we are in a ‘generation-defining moment’, where the uncertainty benefits can be optimised. As we gradually realise the characteristics of the new normal that came as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, we need to dig deeper to optimise the constraints of the evolving new dimensions that this uncertainty would lead us to. Therefore, further studies are recommended to find factors and the duration of uncertainty that lead to either positive or negative reactions. On the hand, the influence and the integration of disciplines as economics, psychology, and neuroscience on uncertainty need to be more explored. There are many beneficial outcomes expected from designing a multidisciplinary study as this paper where the risks of uncertainty and its relation to attitudes, as the acceptance of ambiguity can be turned to be beneficial to humanity.


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