Updated: Apr 11, 2019
"Quit striving for certainty. Certainty is the enemy of growth."
Who doesn’t want to be right? I mean being right is the best way to feed our egos. Pure certainty about a subject makes us feel good about ourselves, maybe even fulfilled. When we’re certain we feel in control. Our minds are constantly making associations and assumptions about everything to better enable us to control and understand our environment, and we accept these assumptions. We think to ourselves, “I’m certain I am right about this subject.”
The comedian Emo Phillips once stated, “I used to think the human brain was the most wonderful organ in the body. Then I realized what was telling me this.”
The result of the fact that our brains are imperfect is we can never be absolutley certain about something. We can only ever be a little less wrong about our views.
Our pursuit of certainty is holding us back from growing, keeping you and I from becoming better individuals. We should always be in a constant state of doubt. Accepting that we’re wrong about life, about everything really, will allow us to be open to the possibility of change and growth.
When we hold onto certainties we’re pinning ourselves down to a situation. We become so obsessed with being right we end up chaining ourselves to the wrong things. Take dating for example. It’s easier to sit in painful certainty that no one will find you attractive than to actually put yourself out there and confront your certainty about your desirability. It’s easier to be certain that your broken relationship with a person will never be resolved than to actually test your beliefs and find out the truth about the relationship.
We cling to these assumptions because it’s easier and less painful to just accept where we are right now. It’s easier to believe the assumptions our brains are making that we are right and that this is our lot in life.
Stop striving for certainty. Be in a constant state of doubt. Constantly question your beliefs and assumptions, so that each day you can be, not a little more right, but a little less wrong.