Doubt Is Better Than Certainty

“Everyone always talks about confidence in believing what you do. I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being skeptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential.”

— Milton Glaser, from “Ten Things I Have Learned,” part of an AIGA talk in London via Revision Arts

Milton Glaser’s thoughts in the quote above are revolutionary and comforting to me! Revolutionary because these thoughts are the exact opposite of what society tells us to believe. Comforting because this means that having doubts, despite popular opinion, is not wrong. In fact, having a reasonable amount of doubt is actually healthy.

Society tends to celebrate people who are totally confident and completely sure of themselves and of their decisions. While confidence is definitely a good trait to have, allowing no room for doubt is not. Having some doubt keeps us grounded, allows us to think in different ways, and encourages us to be open to the viewpoints of others whose solutions might just be better than our own.