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Rolling With Radical Uncertainty

To listen to an audio version of this essay, click here.

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Henry David Thoreau

Prepare for a turbulent 2024, for we are entering a period of radical uncertainty along numerous angles: an ominous election and wannabe dictator; the promise and peril of AI off leash; weather extremes and rising tides; ruinous wars and unstable alliances; a tenuous economy and skittish market; the rosé grape harvest.

This maelstrom of continuous news and noise can distract and befuddle the most focused among us. How do we stay on course when the winds are howling? We find our true North Star.


If you’ve spent time in snow country you know that driving in a blizzard at night is daunting.  A riot of flakes swirl up from the road and in from the sides. The white-out visibility and gusting winds are disorienting in the extreme. Staying on the road, much less in your lane, is an unnerving challenge. Where is my lane? In fact, where the hell is the road?

Hi beams are not the solution to low visibility in heavy snow or fog. They simply throw more light out onto the very thing obstructing our view. No, greater illumination of that wall of white doesn’t help, what helps is a guiding star, a beacon ahead that is revealing our destination and points to avoid.  That’s why lighthouses were built.

I wrote about North Stars last March, in Experiment #3 (Your Mission Definition) of my 2023 series on the art of defining and pursuing grand life ambitions. 2024 will be the tumultuous time for a bright guiding star ahead. Focusing on an inspiring legacy project will be particularly helpful in a year of mega (MAGA?) uncertainty and dread. You may be unable to insulate from the swirling storm, but you can keep the beams low and focus on what really matters: what you have to offer, not what we all have to lose.  Good luck.


Note that the series of 2023 experiments mentioned above are published in my Substack stream as well as in the compilation “Where Now & How,” available for free download here.

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