Dean Burnett, that’s who. 

Well our brain is a control freak, according to neuroscientist & author of the book 'Idiot Brain', Dean Burnett. In an evolutionary sense, the brain does not like uncertainty. 

Why? because anything uncertain is a potential threat.

Imagine this scenario for a moment:
You are on your way to a hugely important meeting or function. You are the main speaker/guest of honour. Everyone is coming to see YOU

Scenario 1: 
You get a flat tire and you know you definitely won’t make it

Scenario 2:
You are stuck in bumper to bumper traffic (my usual commute in Sydney traffic) and you don’t know if you will make it, it’s touch and go!

Which scenario do you find most stressful?

If you choose Scenario 2, you are not alone. I’d say 95% of my audiences I ask this question to, choose Scenario 2 as the most stressful of the two scenarios.


Because we experience more stress when we don’t know if something bad is about to happen than when we know for sure it is coming! The brain craves answers now.

From a scientific perspective… NO news is worse than BAD news!!
Certainty, even if it is BAD NEWS, allows us to plan!

When the brain doesn’t get answers, guess what it does… it makes one up. It fills the void, often not with the best solution or based on assumptions (many of which are downright wrong)!

So what?

Given we live in a VUCA world (a term coined by military) which stands for: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous, it’s fair to say, our brain ain’t going to like this too much. 

So what does this mean for you?

As an individual, when we can understand how our brains are wired, it might shed some light on our own feelings or behaviours, during times of uncertainty, to be able to better modify them. 

  • Is there something that you're stewing on, where you can’t make a decision or you're too scared to find out the answer, in case it’s bad news?
  • How is this impacting you emotionally, physically & behaviourally?
  • Do you ever feel mentally fatigued, physically sick and/or overwhelmed or stuck?

As a leader, trying to lead others through change, it allows us to understand what might be going on for our team, to better empathise and implement effective leadership strategies to help people become more change-fit. 

What are you potentially keeping to yourself to avoid being the bearer of bad news for your team?

How is this impacting their behaviour & their trust in you?

One tip is for sure…

If NO NEWS is worse than BAD NEWS, no matter how bad the news, always remember, in the absence of any communication, people are going to fill the void. So always better to be upfront, transparent and over-communicate (even what you don’t know) to avoid behavioural issues & the office grapevine growing wild! 

Keep smiling, keep connecting, keep chatting!



BLYTHE ROWE & Her Life on Heels.

The founder & director of Human Incite, is widely recognised for her passion, energy and her ability to shake things up. Blythe is brilliant at revving-up productivity & performance in organisations. Her passion made her to be an advocate in creating sustainable behavioural changes & creating meaningful relationships both personally and professionally with her most recent Keynote 'Science of Connection'. Her enthusiasm simply is infectious.

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