The importance of doubt

The importance of doubt

(Estimated reading time: just over 1 minute)

In matters of theology, doubt is an essential ingredient of a healthy faith. Unswerving certainty leads to entrenched thinking and, ultimately, to bigotry.

But the idea behind this entry was associated with our working environments.

It is my view that whenever we have a big decision to make, we should look for the doubt; seek the uncertainty. We need to pause to allow the questions to surface.


The benefit of doubt is an open mind.

Dan Rockwell (@leadership freak)

We need to explore the options fully. Not discounting anything at first glance.

Is this a recipe for procrastination? Almost certainly! But procrastination can be beneficial. Rushing to a quick, bad decision is much worse than move purposefully to a good one.

Maybe we should spend more time deciding and less time regretting/reworking or mistakes. There’s also a cost to any organsiation of ‘car park’ grumbling about decisions. That is, people agree to the decision in a meeting, then cluster together afterwards to belly ache about it. It’s really a question of where to invest the organisation’s time and energy.

Of course, there comes a point when a decision must be made. How long will depend on the complexity of the issue. But I’d also like to suggest that the more certain we are at the start, the longer we should pause to see what emerges.

And, at that point, I’ll pause to see what emerges.


Behold … and consider

Behold … and consider

These photos are two sides of the same piece of stone/installation. (I recommend clicking on them to see them more clearly.)

I stumbled on them a couple of months ago. Fittingly, they’ve been on my mind since then.

I’m a big fan of the concept of pausing.

Behold – spot an idea; capture it; then wait.

Let your brain process it in the background – making connections; teasing it out; adding insight.

Then – and only then – consider. Make the decision; initiate the activity; set the wheels in motion.

In my experience, the best decisions are made in this way; and the worst when there is no pause.

How long to pause? That depends. Sometimes pausing to ask that question might be enough time! But, usually, the pause should give you time to listen to other voices – including the ones in your head.