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Skepticism

I’m going to steal an idea from Seth Godin’s blog that I read last week.

Skepticism can be healthy, at times. It can keep you from wandering too close to the edge, and prevent you from making that rash decision. It can keep you safe when you are wondering whether you should take that leap of faith, or stay grounded.

However, skepticism can inhibit growth if you let it go to far. You have to be willing to open your heart and mind when you are entering into a new realm. As Godin says, you must go into each new book, or meeting, with the understanding that there is, at least, some goodwill in the message that is about to be portrayed. If you enter into every meeting as the “Devil’s Advocate” you stand to lose a lot of ground, because you are never willing to listen to what’s going on.

I’m guilty, all to often, of taking that approach. Oftentimes, my wife will count on me to play that part, because she knows that I do it so well. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s fine to have some healthy skepticism towards new ideas, as long as you are able to temper that skepticism, and allow growth to happen. I read once that when someone challenges your view of the world, or pushes your buttons, they may be trying to give you the gift of perception that you simply can’t get to all by yourself. Perhaps you should listen to them. Perhaps an openness to outside ideas isn’t such a bad idea, in and of itself.

When have you skipped doing something new (business or personal life) because of an unhealthy skepticism about things? On the contrary, when have you entered a situation with an open heart, and mind, and ended up ahead? Which felt better for you?

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One Response to “Skepticism”

  1. Good points, Lucas. Skepticism can be both boon and bane…depending on how it’s used.
    If used effectively, it can actually help raise our awareness of things that we don’t recognize (being too close to the trees to see the forest). “Skeptical”, or inquisitive, questions can be used to probe a topic or idea to make sure that all angles are considered. A skeptic, or “devil’s advocate”, can equally squash ideas and progress, however, simply because they are trying to make a point, they disagree altogether, or they are just trying to be difficult. We all must be mindful of how we choose to employ this mindset. Or, to riff off the myriad Superhero flicks: We must use the skill for good instead of evil. 🙂


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