#466. The Science of Handling Uncertainty | Maya Shankar

Ten Percent Happier
June 27, 2022
#466. The Science of Handling Uncertainty | Maya Shankar
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

It seems like a design flaw in our species that we live in a world of constant change yet most of us are not comfortable with uncertainty. 

In this episode, we talk to Maya Shankar about how to get better at dealing with change and to stop seeking what scientists call “cognitive closure.”

Shankar is a former Senior Advisor in the Obama White House, where she founded and served as Chair of the White House Behavioral Science Team. She also served as the first Behavioral Science Advisor to the United Nations, and is currently a Senior Director of Behavioral Economics at Google. She is the host of the Pushkin Industries podcast A Slight Change of Plans, which was named Best Show of the Year in 2021 by Apple. 

In this episode we talk about: 

  • Why humans are so uncomfortable with uncertainty and change
  • What a behavioral scientist actually does in the world
  • Why even the host of a podcast about change isn’t immune to the uncertainties of life 
  • The benefits of cultivating a more malleable sense of self
  • Why humans are such bad forecasters
  • The importance of auditing yourself when you’re undergoing a big change
  • How to take advantage of big reset moments
  • The concept of cognitive closure and why encouraging an open mind can make us more resilient 

Where to find Maya Shankar online: 

Website: mayashankar.com

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