Improve your thinking

One important trick to improve your thinking.

There is one trick that is key to thinking better. That trick is to doubt.

Now, I know what you are thinking.  Doubt?  That’s it?  Well, obviously that’s not it.  Too much doubt paralyzes. You have to doubt your doubt. Too little doubt and you make mistakes in your thinking.  The trick is to get the balance right.  How do you know if you got the balance right?  Doubt.

Ok, this is all getting a bit too circular, even for me. So let’s break down the benefits of doubt and how to avoid going over the edge with too much doubt.

  • Doubt allows you to question your assumptions.  Assumptions you may not even know you are making.  This is the first skill of freethought and critical thinking. Question your assumptions.
  • Doubt allows you to be skeptical of the claims made by others. Are there really space aliens living in volcanoes dictating how you will act? I don’t think so. Why not see what the scientists who research volcanoes have to say about that.
  •  Doubt allows you to question whether a proposed solution to a problem will even work. Heck. Doubt allows you to question whether or not there are other solutions that may work better than the one proposed. 
How do we avoid the dangers of too much doubt? Doubt our doubt. If you find yourself doubting everything and refusing to make a decision because nothing seems reliable, it means you are doubting too much.  We can never have perfect information. The best we can hope for is to be less wrong then we were before. 

At some point, you have to make a decision. That is the point of thinking after all. So if you find you can’t make a decision, stop thinking and make the best decision you can with the information you have.  It’s all any of us can ever do.

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