CERTAIN assumptions are DANGEROUS
Well, we know this. (at least I hope we do)
Assumptions are defined as a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof, things that we do not question.
If you think about it this phenomena inherent in humans needs to be in place to a degree for us to function in some sort of normality. If we did not assume that the sun would rise tomorrow what would the point of being alive today be for instance?
Something that helps us survive in this complex world is useful.
But there are the 'dark' assumptions, the ones that help us believe that status quo actually is the 'quo'. This happens frequently to people in organisations, institutions and economies for a variety of reasons.
Assumptions do not always bring out the best in us. We assume we know things we don't.
We assume we understand people's motivations but we don't.
We assume we are in control of many things that may damage our reputations and particularly our impact and thus our potential, but we are not.
Culturing a healthy degree of doubt can be an elixir and a powerful antidote to some of the assumptions we carry around with us.
Now there is useful doubt - and paralysing doubt.
Paralysing doubt is normally associated with fear and uncertainty - not positive concepts.
What I am referring to here is a doubt motivated by a deep curiosity about the world and the system wherein you survive and are looking to thrive. On many levels this is an external world but often this is the internal world as well.
Here are a couple of questions - a mirror to look into:
- How often do you doubt your socialised feelings about anything?
- How often do you ask yourself why you feel a certain way about something and not simply assume that what you are feeling is valid?
- When last did you really look at the metrics of your performance, what degree of it was you, what degree of it was environment and luck?
- When last did you doubt what you read, really ask yourself "what the heck is the author saying?"
- When last did you receive great feedback about your performance and place in the world?
These are real simple questions but ones that I dont often see people asking themselves.
Doubt is a precursor to awesome creativity, new ways of being in the world and amazing performance enhancements. Curious doubt has been at the cornerstone of many innovations that have changed the world.
“From childhood I was compelled to concentrate attention upon myself. This caused me much suffering, but to my present view, it was a blessing in disguise for it has taught me to appreciate the inestimable value of introspection in the preservation of life, as well as a means of achievement. The pressure of occupation and the incessant stream of impressions pouring into our consciousness through all the gateways of knowledge make modern existence hazardous in many ways. Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves. The premature death of millions is primarily traceable to this cause. Even among those who exercise care, it is a common mistake to avoid imaginary, and ignore the real dangers. And what is true of an individual also applies, more or less, to a people as a whole.”
― Nikola Tesla
Bottomline: use doubt as a friend not a foe - culture curiosity - find great ways to garner the best feedback possible to make the journey a truly impactful and sustainable one. EMPOWERED by DOUBT directed by INSIGHT.