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Opinions Part 2: Curiosity Versus Certainty

goals psychology theory May 09, 2024
horse riding out in field with fog/mist

Opinions: Part 2

Things your trainer probably hasn't taught you.
The worst trait you can have is certainty.
Now  you may find that ridiculous. You may be asking: "But people who are certain are confident, they're experts, they are leaders."
Let me explain why certainty is oftentimes a negative trait, contrary to your gut reaction.
I'm not saying you can't be strong in your convictions; you can. But you must also leave space to be wrong and leave space to be curious.
A total feeling of certainty and a complete lack of uncertainty leads people to have a lack of curiosity. We have this lack of curiosity because we feel we don't need to be curious, as we already know the ultimate "right answer".
A lack of curiosity leads us to become separated from the world. We become sealed away in our ivory tower, feeling we are the supreme omniscient Wizard of Oz and everything else is a waste of time and effort to be bothered with. We aren't interested in being open to any potential options because we are certain we have the *best* viewpoint already.
Additionally, people have no sense that almost everything in life actually sits in some sort of gray area. It's not as black and white as people like to categorize things. And even if you do see the gray area, many times this is subjective: each person has their own belief of exactly where "the spot" should be on this spectrum.
And if you don't see this gray spectrum, then you're more likely to just choose one of the two extremes and be too certain about it.
So how do you prevent yourself from arrogantly building yourself up in your ivory tower?
You must always maintain a sense of curiosity. You have to believe there is VIRTUE in uncertainty and curiosity.
If you commit to finding virtue in uncertainty and curiosity, then that allows you to accept when there is another possible solution.
Now, of course, you also can't take this too far. You cannot be so uncertain that you allow yourself to accept everything that gets presented to you. (Hey, there's that gray area that we talked about!).
But I'd wager that there are far more people who latch on to certainty for comfort and a feeling of superiority, compared to those who live their life flip-flopping to every single new thing they see.

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