The power of doubt – really?


The power of doubt – really? Fake it until you make it, act with certainty, do what you think is best. The list of self-help advice in this direction is regrettably long.

All of it results in no more than a perpetuation of what you already know and believe. It leaves no room for questions, for doubt, for letting go of what or how you think about any given topic and leaving space for new information.

Doubt is powerful. Doubt tells you that you haven’t got an answer yet, that you need to stay out in the grey, confusing mess of complexity and options out there in the unformed universe.

When you suppress doubt, act with certainty and fake it until you make it, all you are doing is latching onto something that looks quite a lot like what you already have.

Entertaining doubts, however, gives you the ability to say, I don’t know, I am not sure, let me investigate further. It allows you to uncouple from your ego, your habits, your patterns. Doubt is what allows the Black Swan to emerge.

How we deal with uncertainty is a strong indicator of how resilient we are to change. It’s easy to operate in a certain world, where structure, plans, routines and habits all deliver what we are expecting.

However, this very predictability begins to numb our minds and our souls over time, resulting in a steep decline in new ideas and the ability to attempt new things.

No matter how pleased you might be with a new plan, continue to harbour doubts. Nothing is ever perfect (thank goodness) and there is always room for improvement. If you shuck off doubt when you go live, you sever your lifeline to growth and change.

But psychologically, you also remain open: to input, advice, criticism … all of which will help you to grow.

The power of doubt – really?

In the social media era, people are often surprised to hear I harbour doubts … about what I am doing, about what it can become. But this is not because I intend to give up anytime soon, but because I understand that the situation is fluid. My best plan for today may not work tomorrow and I need to be OK enough with that to change it, and not get smacked to the floor by disappointment and his sidekick remorse.

Never stop asking, ‘What if …’

What if I am wrong, what if my assumptions don’t pan out, what if things change?

Keep your eye on the prize: the ultimate purpose of what you are doing, not the short-term goals. These should always be doubted because they are so often forced to change.

Doubt is a superpower. Wrap it around you like a cloak and become better able to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. 

Then you can become the development no-one saw coming, the black swan, the pattern breaker.

Or not, I mean, maybe I don’t know WHAT I am talking about …