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CREATIVE
SKEPTICISM
All or Nothing Digest #4
Curated by Managing Director, Warren Davies

THE CREATIVE ACT OF SKEPTICISM

There’s a famous intelligence practice – tested in wartime – that can be readily applied to our global and local circumstances today. Leaders in the field dodging actual flak, and flak of all kinds, gathered only enough information to make a good decision on their next move. But not so much that they lost the advantage of speed in making it.

George Patton said it with gusto: “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”

All or Nothing often meets this challenge: ‘do we have enough information to be certain?’, and the answer is always ‘no’. And ‘nor should you have!’ Much of our hesitance comes from fear of getting it wrong or even not getting it 100% right in the eyes of colleagues, an authority figure or peers. 

We get it, but if you look at the opportunity cost in proceeding with a perfect chance of success you’ve given up too much along the way. Perhaps you’re making the ‘too safe’ choice which limits your results also.

The original skeptics had a good read on this. Today we know skepticism to mean a bleak or cautionary viewpoint. In the time of Phyrro and Sextus Empiricus it meant to be wary of the perfect solution and to proceed as life seems to you, not what it could or should be.

In the face of a climate emergency we must search for the very best solutions but also know that the time for extensive modelling and scenario analysis is passing us by. Fossil fuels? Easy. Low meat diets? Mmm-hmm. Policies to protect low-lying communities and transient populations? Before it’s too late.  

Whether you’re Cardi B, Ross Gittens or Waleed Aly we can all apply some original skepticism in our lives and sleep well knowing we’ve made good choices today, not ‘perfect’ ones years from now – or never as is most often the case.

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