Audacity of Certainty

Tom Leu


Are you capable of being wrong? No, I mean really capable of saying “I got that wrong, I missed the boat on that one, I got some bad information, I blew that, I’m promptly removing my head from my ass now?”

Are you truly willing and able to own shit like that? Really be honest in answering this question because it’s a big one. A really big one. Perhaps the biggest one of all. One that significantly influences your long-term ability to be influential by abandoning the audacity of certainty in favor of humility of certainty. Humility is required to be the most productive and contributing at the highest levels. Embracing humility and escaping audacity where and when necessary is an acquired skill-set and an ongoing choice.

Many claim it, but do not demonstrate it. These personality types are convinced that their world-view about anything and everything is the only thing. They’re incapable of being wrong. It’s impossible someone else has a better idea. It’s a farce to think that there’s a different way than their way. And this folly is the downfall to many a leader, lover, and level-headed wanna-be the world over.

Feeling certain and being certain are different. I feel certain about many things, but it doesn’t guarantee my feelings are true in actuality. My theories must be tested, my assertions must be able to stand up to scrutiny to truly be certainties. There’s nothing un-noble (is that even a word?) about uncertainty. See, I just demonstrated it there. It’s freeing and fun… you should try it too.

Hear me clearly: Having strong views, leanings, and likes is noble, good, and necessary. I’m inspired by those inspired to speak their mind, stand their ground, and proclaim their truth. I encourage it, and do it myself. My point here is to also be able to examine your truths as passionately as you proclaim them, and be willing to abandon them if they don’t hold up under objective analysis. There’s always more to learn. There’s always new information to uncover. There’s always the possibility that we have bad information. There’s always the possibility that we have incomplete information. The answer to the “Is it possible” question has to always be yes.

“The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.” – John F. Kennedy

I wonder if the know-it-all breed count on learning this? The greatest humility, therefore the most advantageous strength, is in recognizing that no one knows it all, though many assert the opposite by their behaviors and actions. Being so certain that you’re unwilling to be uncertain is the malignant audacity that adherents pay for mightily. Avoid it at all costs. Get humble; get honest; and get on with the business of being open to being open.

QUESTION for you: How willing are you to truly accept others’ ideas, opinions, and viewpoints? Especially when they are in direct opposition with yours? Leave your comments below.

Stay tuned-in…

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2 thoughts on “Audacity of Certainty

  1. Depends on the topic of opposition!? The closer the topic coincides with your beliefs and passions makes it harder to an open mind and truly listen to not only the other persons words, but the emotion behind their words that make them feel that way! This is always a growth area for me 🙂

  2. Honest answer Melissa. I applaud your transparency.

    I’d argue that the “closer” topics are the ones most necessary to examine and analyze objectively. This is difficult to do, which is why so many don’t.

    Thanks for the reply.

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