Certainty is absurd

It was Voltaire that wrote “Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it”

Did you ever own a Blackberry? Most people did and if you owned one you could not have imagined losing it or replacing it with anything else. In the summer of 2009, BlackBerry occupied half of the market share for smartphones. by 2014, it was down to 1%.

What led to the downfall was an inability to rethink long-held opinions and a tunnel vision for changing trends. they never added an internet browser until Apple was on the scene and even then they could not believe people wanted anything but email.

When we are confident we make good decisions when we are over confident we make poor decisions. When we are sure we double down at exactly the moment we should rethink.

If we are to survive and then thrive we must avoid the overconfidence and hubris of us ‘being right’ and others being wrong. In the book ‘rethink’ by Adam Grant he describes three personas we use to kid ourselves that we are correct.

  • The Preacher; To protect and promote their ideals
  • The prosecutor; To prove other people wrong
  • The politician; We let ourselves be kidded by wanting to be liked

Adam Grant talks about the need for a new persona, the persona of the scientist. A scientist embraces doubt and considers various hypothesis. They are not afraid of failure and will pivot far more than the other personas.

We can get caught up in the Preacher, prosecutor, politician mindset and not see the joys of a scientist full of doubt. If you’re not having any second thoughts at all, it’s probably because you’re not thinking it through enough.

The hallmark of the true believer is that there’s no room for judgment. For everyone else, misgivings are a sign that you’re carefully considering the problem at hand. Take your time and think it through, not too long but the time it and you deserve. 

Doubts are good, confusion is excellent, you questioning is the right thing, it shows you are engaged. Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position, but certainty is absurd. Be a scientist 👨‍🔬

Hearty handshakes from me to you

Published by NCS

reader of great literature, teller of tales, photographer of mostly awful snaps but on occasion I am half decent.

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