Skepticism: Boon in Disguise

“Skepticism is not a position; it’s a process.” – Michael Brant Sheerer

Unlike fashionable misperception, the word ‘skepticism’ should not be correlated with pessimistic connotations. It should be construed as a process that could be a boon in disguise. Skepticism is a cognitive method, a way of rationalisation / interpretation that requires cerebral thinking to arrive at valid conclusions.

Skepticism assumes that true knowledge is uncertain and that truth is far from obvious. It doesn’t concoct and / or justify a distorted and coloured notion. While perennially refuting the idea of absolute truth, skeptics make sincere attempts to find support structure for a conclusion. Responsible skeptics look for testimony of scientific method in order to make reasonable conclusions. Much like scientists, skeptics evaluate and derive after extensively validating premise and assumptions.

Systems deprived of entropy with respect to the whirl that comes by via attacking validity of existence are usually weaker. Skeptics are external stimuli that channels people away from in-vogue commodity thinking, a process that could lead to potential large gains. In fact, skeptics move the world toward reasonable and fundamental zones. Such movements towards base-line lead to extraordinarily positive influence on everyone.

Innovation doesn’t come from a group comprising of just believers. When skeptics destroy the long leaf of assumptions, innovation is catalysed. Discreet inventions, and hence long-term sustainability, don’t come from homogeneity of a group of people who are great ‘believers’; it usually comes via the skeptic route in which every assumption made through the process is rigorously questioned / attacked.

System is more prone to destruction by believers than by skeptics

Much like how ‘abundance is harder to handle than scarcity’ (a Taleb phrase) is an antithetical thought, ‘a system is more prone to destruction by believers than by skeptics’ could sound incongruous. Yet, variants of the above similes couldn’t be more accurate.

Businesses that surround itself with skeptics, who think independently, have better probabilities to flourish. On the other hand, businesses that have collective belief of several “believers”, whose belief-systems are mirror images of each other’s vision, usually end up struggling. It could be severely harmful not to be able to see beyond the collective wisdom of believers. Seemingly simple, many fail to see through this counter-intuitive camouflage.

Story telling could be a linear process. When skepticism, belief-system and an organisation are correlated by this linear scale, an inadvertent mistake of proportionality of thought, vision and timing is committed. Remember, the best businesses lose when they run for same-breed ‘believers’, and win, buoyantly, when charged by skeptics.

Its imperative for high growth ventures to surround themselves with people who have critical and inwardly focused reasoning.