The uncertainty experts: helping us embrace the unknown

A new interactive online documentary pairs science and storytelling to help us improve resilience, creativity and productivity

How do you feel about stepping into the unknown? After the last couple of years, you would have thought we’d be comfortable with uncertainty. But the truth is, many of us aren’t. As someone with anxiety and a history of an eating disorder, routine and the ‘known’ are very much my happy places. And while I have gotten better at dealing with uncertainty over the years, there are still some internal battles that take place when it comes up.

So, when I was invited along to preview a new interactive documentary that claimed to help reduce anxiety around uncertainty and improve resilience, I jumped at the chance. The Uncertainty Experts is unique, a three-part online event where every episode looks to neutralise one negative impact of uncertainty. It streams live and has an interactive element where viewers answer survey questions and learn a lot along the way, not only about uncertainty but about themselves, too.

The episodes blend science, art and storytelling to incredible effect. The science is the foundation of the show – it’s built on research from the University College London, which is drip-fed throughout to help us understand uncertainty. The artistic element comes through in the presentation of the show, where presenters host live in front of filmed backdrops and musical scores are designed to relax us (and co-created with Morcheeba). The storytelling sees the team of uncertainty experts share their experiences and learnings, so we can too.

Author Sam Conniff and Creative Scientist Katherine Templar Lewis head up the show and the team of experts includes activist and ex gang-leader Karl Loko, AI expert Dr Vivienne Ming and former prisoner and advocate Morgan Godvin.

During the preview I got to watch the first episode, getting a taste for what the full event would entail. In that hour alone, I learnt how powerful uncertainty can be – if we can embrace it. I took part in thought experiments that reminded me what a powerful machine our brain is, and why it takes skill to master.

Answering a survey throughout and being forced to reflect on my own demons when it came to uncertainty was enlightening, especially when I received the breakdown of my results. We saw measurably how much our tolerance to uncertainty had improved after one episode and, well, let’s just say I bought my ticket for the full event straight away.

The episodes will be airing on 9th, 16th and 23rd November and, between them, you’ll get access to bite-sized content, including podcasts and articles on turning uncertainty into opportunity, group discussions where you get to connect with fellow viewers and interactive reflection prompts. Part of the beauty of the event is doing it alongside others – and, of course, there’s science behind why that’s the case, but I’ll let the experts explain more on that.

Most documentaries make you think, but this one wants to do more than that – it wants to change the way you think. Interested? Happiful readers can get 25% discount by entering code ‘HAPPIFUL’ at checkout. To quote Dr Ming in episode one, “Walk into the deep end of your life”.

If you are looking for professional support to help with anxiety, you can connect with a therapist at Counselling Directory.