I am, of course, skeptical of skepticism, and appreciate what Steve Pavlina says about skeptics:
“If you want to be a true skeptic, then you also need to be skeptical about skepticism. You wouldn’t want to be so gullible as to swallow a whole thought system without proof, would you?”
It felt for a while that questioning and releasing skepticism required some kind of permission — some Council of Skeptics would need to first allow me to think outside of the parameters of what felt rational, logical and easily explained by science and tangible evidence.
It turns out, that Council of Skeptics is really just one miserable guy in a windowless office at some corner of my mind, who doesn’t care what I do but is just gonna judge it anyway.
There’s really no pleasing him, unless he’s given an opportunity to issue me an arrogant, “I told you so!”
It’s so easy to feel beholden to that inner critic — and the way he manifests in our external lives.
We all know people in our lives who are in the business of Dismissing. Their ideals are founded on safety. They are not the people to talk to if you’re looking to change careers, pursue a creative endeavor or go on any kind of adventure.
They’ll insist there isn’t much money in what you’re trying to pursue.
They’ll warn you of the dangers of traveling and exploring the world.
They’ll scoff at anything that doesn’t sound like a productive use of your time — they are experts in your life, apparently.
I have found myself beholden to this point of view for years. I think it’s the cut and dry impression of “rational thinking” they do that has undercut my own intuition for years.
This perspective really threatened me when I decided that I no longer wanted to work in the corporate world, and that I not only wanted to be a coach and writer full time, but leave New York and move to a city I’d been to only once before.
The curmudgeon in the corner office was drafting up memo after memo on all of the ways he didn’t see this working out.
And so I had to make a really important decision:
I would no longer take advice from anyone who isn’t living a life I want to live.
The skeptics and rationalists in my life (and in my head) were invalidated the moment I evaluated the direction walking their talk might take me.
The limiting beliefs had less of a hold on me as soon as I understood the life I would be living with those beliefs.
The truth of the matter is, everyone has an opinion, even your inner skeptic.
And when you’re not 100% sure of your next step, and know more about how you want to feel than how you’re going to accomplish that, it can be easy to let in any perspective offered, for the sake of having a perspective.
And a skeptical perspective is dangerous.
Skepticism is all questions and no answers. It routinely confuses “what if”with“what is” — and always positions “what if” as a bad thing.
When you are facing the unknown, skepticism immediately comes in to try to fill in the details with grim, cautious warnings.
It assumes the unknown is dangerous — and in that way, skepticism feels safe, protective, even in your best interest.
But what skepticism routinely denies is the possibility of greatness in the unknown, and can shut you down from ever seeing the amazing opportunities waiting just outside your current field of vision.