Business course

I tried an anxiety reduction course used by Netflix and Google

  • “Uncertainty Experts” is an interactive three-part documentary that costs $ 134 to stream live.
  • The course was taken by employees of companies like Google, Netflix and Nike.
  • Insider’s Kiera Fields took the course. These are the tools she learned and how they worked for her.

Over the past year, the uncertainty has become more present and threatening. Even the best-laid out plans can now be derailed by a positive COVID-19 test or a rapid change in government regulations.

I was contacted by Sam Conniff in October and asked if I wanted to attend his new experimental seminar called “Experts in Uncertainty”. Conniff is a British entrepreneur and author. His book “Be More Pirate: Or How to Take on the World and Win” is an international bestseller.

I didn’t know any of Conniff’s accolades. After browsing his website and seeing rave reviews of his workshops in Google and Warner Bros, I thought: if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

The seminar in part, the docuseries in part consisted of three-hour episodes, broadcast live to an online audience. The series is called “the world’s first interactive documentary scientifically proven to increase resilience and decrease anxiety.”

Before the first episode I filled in an online survey to establish a baseline for my ability to deal with uncertainty. I rated whether I strongly agree or strongly disagreed with statements such as “I don’t like questions that can be answered in different ways” or “I feel uncomfortable when I don’t. don’t understand the reason why something happened in my life ”.

We received our profile by email prior to the first seminar, telling us what our scores were on topics such as “desire for predictability”, “decision” or “closed mind”. If you scored over 10, you were less comfortable with uncertainty. This would be used to compare our results at the end of the series.

I got 10 or more on everything except closed mind

After completing the initial survey, I watched each episode of the three-part series, which aired a week apart at 9 a.m. GMT in November. Conniff presented each episode on a virtual livestream in front of a green screen showing corresponding videos and images.

Often times, a QR code would appear behind it for you to scan with your phone. A question would appear on your device related to what it was talking about.

Conniff would ask us to conjure up a memory of fear, and then the question would require a quick grasp of the physical reactions we identify with that emotion. After each episode, our responses were emailed to us so we could think about it.

The hour also featured taped interviews between Conniff and his “uncertainty experts” – people who had overcome enormous obstacles and faced extreme situations of uncertainty – to help illustrate the points he was making. They included Karl Lokko, chairman of a venture capital firm who was once a gang member, and Morgan Godvin, a heroin addict who went to jail and then changed his life. She is now studying law and working for JSTOR Daily as a writer.

These people would share their advice on dealing with common reactions to uncertainty such as fear, confusion, or feeling frozen or blocked.

The “experts” had all seemed to achieve greater self-awareness and therefore control over their internal reactions to uncertainty by using different coping mechanisms.

The first episode was about fear

We’ve heard how people who have trouble regulating their feelings often look for safety behaviors to feel calm again: drinking, avoiding the problem, getting into their job – all of these can release dopamine to calm the system. central nervous system and make them feel safe. .

Conniff and the experts guided us through different exercises to better regulate emotions in the face of uncertainty. The first was to instill a sense of gratitude by imagining something for which we were grateful. It works both as a way to distract from the thing we were feeling anxious about and to encourage a feeling of relaxation that mirrors the physical effects of dopamine.

Another expert suggested imagining how much worse it would be if we didn’t take action or face a given situation and use that feeling to inspire action.

Later that day, after watching the episode, I was to have a meeting with my boss to discuss the outcome of my six-month scholarship at Insider and whether I would get a full-time job after that. I was extremely nervous, so I tried each of these tactics.

First of all, I imagined how I would feel if I mismanaged the situation by getting emotional. The regret I would feel making a bad impression on someone I had admired. The investigation I had done suggested that my emotional regulation was not at the expert level, which made me feel more stressed.

The second method has been much more successful. I started to list in my head all the aspects of the job that I was grateful to have already learned and what I had accomplished so far.

It immediately calmed me down and gave me something to focus my racing thoughts on

There were still butterflies in my stomach, but my hands were not shaking and my heart rate had slowed.

I didn’t know if I was going to get the job at that meeting. But because I was able to calm myself down using the documentary’s tools, I was able to think more clearly and ask relevant questions to better prepare for this discussion.

After the last episode, we were asked to complete an exit survey to compare with our initial survey.

My emotional reactions had improved by 8% and the group average was 12%. I had managed to reduce my need for closure by 14.52%, while the group’s average reduction was 21%.

Although I do not return to classes daily, they made me more aware of my strong aversion to risk and uncertainty compared to my fellow viewers.

Since the final poll, I try to push myself into situations that seem out of my comfort zone, especially at work. I will speak more often in meetings, jump on calls rather than rely on emails or


, and have coffee in person, if COVID regulations allow it.