Skepticism is a virtue. It requires a willingness to question conventional wisdom, and the guts to accept something after you discover that it’s actually true.
Denialism, on the other hand, is a willful rejection of reality. It’s safe and easy, and unproductive. Because there’s no room to change your mind.
To be a generous skeptic, we need to state in advance specifically what it would take for us to engage with the proposed insight, and then do so after our standards are met.
This is hard work. It’s not easy to change one’s mind. Difficult but worth it. Big shifts in perception are rare and it’s not something we look forward to.
Skeptics are a key to the scientific method, organizational design and even investing. We sign up to doubt and question and push, and then we become productive contributors by embracing the new tools and results.
Often, people in denial pretend to be skeptics. It feels more powerful than acknowledging that we’re simply avoiding change.