How Becoming a Sceptic Makes You Smarter
I was not always a sceptic, but I have found it leads to a more knowledgeable individual. Find out the two reasons why scepticism makes you smarter.
I have found that scepticism can be born in two ways. The first being a positive experience from being curious. And the second from being lied to too often. Unfortunately, I had an experience that increased the scepticism in me that was negative.
We were told that a new teacher would be covering our class for the next six months as one of the old teachers were away. After a week of his teaching, everyone was glad that the old teacher was gone. He was entertaining, exciting and insightful.
I was always ready to get to his lessons on time, and you could see he taught with passion. We even voted him as one of the best teachers in the school.
Once his time was up, we were all upset and said our goodbyes. Unfortunately, it was just before the exam period too. So we would not have his guidance.
The week after, the old teacher came and asked us to review what we learned over the last six months. We were all happy to present what we had done until he said:
“From what I have heard, you were covering the wrong specification.”
We were all stunned and were nervous to present our work. Unfortunately, our teacher was right. Not one thing we learned was in the specification. To make matters worse, they could not change the exam body. We had to learn six months of content in a month, all thanks to a teacher teaching the wrong thing.
The old teacher pointed out that if we looked at the specification, we would have seen. It was here scepticism was born inside of me.
Scepticism is not just about questioning what you are told but also having the courage to question. Many of us hold our questions back due to fear of it embarrassing us. After all, why would I question a teacher? They should be competent, and I may come across as rude for doing so.
However, I have found ever since then, my mindset has changed. I am now a sceptic at heart, and I do not accept everything told to me. Even when google searches pop up with a quick answer, I seek to validate the source. Through being this way, I have grown in intelligence and now find joy in taking my own path to find answers.
So, here are two ways scepticism can bring about higher intelligence.
You Trod Unique Paths
Whether you are a student or an adult, there are always more things to find out. Although the answers to the questions we have are essential, I have found that the journey to the answer is more beneficial.
Now I must warn that being sceptical about everything is a waste of time. Being a sceptic about quick answer questions or validated research may not be useful. These types of journey’s to the answer only lead you to one big loop back to the answer you received.
However, questioning someone’s answer to a deeply insightful question will be beneficial. Also, reading articles like this one through a sceptic lens will help you go on journeys to your own truth on a matter you could have never imagined.
When taking everything at face value, you learn to take the same path everyone else is taking. The world is full of people that want quick answers. Unfortunately, they will accept anything as long as it makes some sense or comes from authority.
But, to build up the mind, quick answers are not what you want. Google search is a phenomenal tool, but it does nothing for your intelligence. Learning to trod your own path to the answer you seek builds on your experience.
Through having to read books, critique ideas, and come up with your own opinion, you are practising critical thinking. And critical thought is at the heart of intelligence. It enables you to take existing knowledge and produce your own opinions and ideas.
Therefore, having the courage and resilience to trod a new path makes you smarter. A sceptic does not follow the crowd. Instead, they go their own way and become smarter whilst in the pursuit of their answer.
You Build a Better Map of Reality
A lot of the time, it is easy to get stuck in our ways. We enjoy feeling right about the way we live our lives. After all, it brings us some happiness, and our friends hopefully agree with our point of view.
However, being a sceptic has also taught me to be sceptical of even my thoughts. To not accept my way of living just because everything is going fine. And to not believe everything I tell myself.
Although this can be hard, it teaches me to wrestle with myself. And wrestling within yourself is not always a bad thing. I have found that it brings about more resilience and courage to change the way you live for the better.
It also teaches you that your map of reality is different to someone else’s. When we speak to someone with opposing views, we often think they may have misunderstood your point of view. It is a common tendency to believe that our opinions must be accurate.
We tend to forget the fact that our maps are not a perfect picture of the world. In fact, they are far from it. People come from all different cultures, backgrounds and experiences. There is no way our way of living or knowledge can map the reality of the world.
We all live in bubbles, and our maps work well for our lives. However, past that, there is a world of knowledge and experience out there that far surpasses our understanding. Smart individuals tend to tap into a range of knowledge to build on their views and strengthen their beliefs.
If you have ever tried arguing with someone way smarter than you, you would have experienced this? They can reference books they read, experiences they have heard about and more. Smart individuals have a better map of the world and hence have a better understanding of the world.
Being sceptical of your views and others causes you to venture into thoughts that you would have never explored. We should not seek to change all our beliefs because we are all individuals. We all have our tendencies and unique views that make us an individual.
However, if we never question ourselves and others, we will never grow. Knowledge and experience help us build on our maps of reality. And this requires challenging ourselves to go beyond our beliefs.
Sceptics, by their very nature, push themselves past what others are willing to accept. In doing so, they build a better view of the world and become smarter.
Being a sceptic is not easy. It requires you to ask the question you think will be stupid and be bold enough to challenge authority. For the most part, it can also damage your relationships as people may feel you are argumentative.
Nevertheless, I have found scepticism has more benefits than costs. When done correctly, it can lead to a fulfilling life and make you smarter. Therefore, why not be bold and take a step in starting scepticism today.
Begin with asking the question you may have always wanted to ask your teacher or manager. Start by taking a journey to challenge your views. Who knows what you might find?
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.