Doubting has been used and widely accepted as a negative term as its adverse effects are commonly acknowledged. But by believing this and avoiding doubt is to choose not to think. Doubt which is destructive is paralyzing. It inhibits constructive thoughts and the power of will. It blocks receptivity to the beneficent workings of the universe. It produces a sense of hopelessness. More importantly it resists progress and rejects ideas on the whims of ignorance, prejudice and emotion.
But let us consider the constructive element of doubt. The constructive element of doubt helps us to question. We doubt therefore we start questioning to know what is true. Without this, if we merely accepted things as they appear to be, then would be no different than animals. Ancient civilizations believed that the ‘Earth was flat’ till someone doubted this hypothesis and started to find the truth. If man could not doubt, he could not progress, the world would have been mired in ignorance. We would not be able to differentiate the theory or fallacious arguments from the truth if we did not question. It is therefore important to apply reasoning.
In fact you find that it’s the doubt that decides the hypothesis. Scientists take such theory and investigate. Nothing is taken for granted. The proposition is carried to a conclusion to see whether it works or not. If it doesn’t then it is set aside and restructured. Imagine if the scientists remained satisfied with the status quo of knowledge, there would be no progress. That’s where the great lesson lies.
Doubt for me is a dynamic energy that should be properly harnessed to move us to progressive actions. If by doubting we are able to destroy some of the most cherished and so called ‘normal’ we would be better off; than blindly following. Doubt allows us to apply the test of reason. If you can analyze ideas with unprejudiced respect and discrimination, you will more readily apprehend the truth and discern what is untruth.
Doubts can lead to ‘inquiry’, ‘questioning’, ‘deep learning’, ‘contemplation’, ‘comprehension’, ‘safety’, ‘problem solving’, ‘acceptance’, ‘ownership’ and many more benefits.
Doubt for me is the foundation of a #thecriticaldialogue which is necessary for enabling or facilitating change.
Imagine if someone tells you “I somehow doubt your intentions” What would happen to you. You would put in an extra effort to explain why you believe in the theory you are proposing. In the process it may help you clarify your own hypothesis and learn what probably you would have missed. It’s a great tool for enabling self-reflection.
It’s similar to someone in a team meeting stating “I have serious doubts whether this campaign or strategy will work” It can trigger a very constructive debate and build greater conviction and ownership in the whole team.
But unfortunately, we have been from childhood conditioned not to doubt what our elders tell us, or the scriptures or community tells us.
I dread to imagine the world where no one would have questioned the existence of a higher power ‘god’ and the workings of the world as his doing. Even today, I see some people have totally given up in life and stopped all progress, calling it their destiny or what a higher power has willed for them.
I’ve seen in organizations, some people are labeled as doubters and there is so much negativity against them. People discount them and fail to get the benefits from a constructive dialogue with the ‘doubters’
I recommend that you must encourage or embrace ‘doubters’; for they are a catalyst to progress.
Do you doubt often? Has it helped you progress in life and at work?
Share some stories….