Name your ambiguity

// 1.12 min read

“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”


Just as we must call out our fears in order to vanquish them, so too must we call out the ambiguity in front of us if we are to move forward with specificity.

We encounter ambiguity all the time. It’s in the email from your boss. It’s in your homework assignment. It’s in that comment your colleague made about your work. It’s all over that brief your client just gave you.

What do you do with ambiguity? Usually we let it paralyse us.

There’s a few other things you could do though. You could let it sit in the hope the fog will clear on its own. You could accept the vagueness and move forward anyway. You could dig into it further and see if there’s specificity lurking underneath? You have lots of options for dealing with ambiguity.

But first, you must identify it.

Name it. Call it out. Draw a dotted line around it. Even if you can’t tell exactly where it is, point in the general direction your gut tells you is most likely. You must be explicit about where the ambiguity lies—with yourself at least. Even if you end up being wrong, at least pointing in a direction lets you begin exploring.

It’s either that, or remain stuck. Your call.

Coby Chapple (@cobyism)

@cobyism—a.k.a. Coby Chapple is an autodidact, systems thinker, product architect, pixel technician, full-stack algorithmagician, multi-media maker, cryptography geek, aspiring linguist, and generalist Designerd™ extraordinaire. Read more »