This Is When Uncertainty Can Be Motivating, According to Science

Nearly two years into COVID-19, and we continue to deal with a lot of uncertainty. Are we preparing for the end of pandemic, or will we need to figure out a way to live with it indefinitely? Are we planning a return to the office, or should we just keep working from home?

Living with uncertainty can create a steep decline in motivation, especially if you think you have no control, says Ayelet Fishbach, author of Get it Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation.

“For some people, the pandemic feels out of our control, even though we can control how likely we are to get sick,” she says. “We use the word ‘helplessness’ to understand why people might not try to change their circumstances. They don’t think that they can escape their destiny. This is the dark side of uncertainty. There is less action.”

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