“Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”
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According to my dictionary, synonyms for “doubt” include fear, suspicion, hesitation and discomfort. Yet doubt encourages curiosity, self-discovery, sincere questioning. Critical thinking and innovation, too, are borne of doubt.
Then there’s doubt’s direct opposite: “certainty.” Synonyms for certainty include trust, confidence, inevitability, even truth. Certainty encourages planning and goal-setting, and motivates feelings of security and stability. Yet those who feel certain are often over-confident, frequently closed-minded, often to a fault, to their detriment and that of others.
In times like these, when doubts abound, and certainty often seems dubious, we can best appreciate the considerable value of “balance” in our lives, that is, some degrees of both doubt and certainty, each to a limit. And, too, it’s in times like these that we see the negative consequences of both extreme doubt and extreme certainty, at work, at home, and elsewhere.
Reasonableness, common sense, flexibility, adaptability and good faith are especially needed these days. On a daily basis, we need to trust a bit but also keep our “eyes wide open.” As President Ronald Reagan summed it up quite nicely, “Trust, but verify.”
Some say we have two hands to encourage give-and-take; two eyes to enable seeing “both sides;” two legs, so that in “shaky” times, or strong winds, even “earthquakes,” we don’t fall to the ground. The daily pursuit of balance in our lives seems to make a whole lot of sense. Balance may not always be the best approach to all things, but in my experience, as a regular pursuit, nothing beats it, either.
This quote was shared with us recently by a client who requested anonymity. She shared that, with this thought in mind, she has found it possible to minimize her anxieties, maximize her health, cut down on her “meds,” and maintain a simpler, healthier view of things that made it hard to have gratitude for her many life blessings. She originally came to us regarding job loss with a whole lot of “dark clouds” upon her. She now seems so much “sunnier” a person. It was really great hearing from her and taking her message to heart.
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