Do you find yourself ever doubting? Doubt is a curious condition since one person’s doubt can be another person’s certainty. For those old enough to remember, Michael Fish famously stated on television that, despite what a woman who had contacted the BBC had said, there would be no hurricane coming Britain’s way. As history shows, he was wrong and she was right. Sort of. The storm the woman referred to was the storm from the USA; the storm that hit Britain was from the Bay of Biscay.

Never the less, the doubt people have in what we say, if this happens a lot, can leave us uncertain at best and insecure and fearful of expressing opinions and ideas at worst.

Fascinating research was carried out by

  • Aaron L. Wichman,
  • Pablo Briñol,
  • Richard E. Petty,
  • Derek D. Rucker,
  • Zakary L. Tormala and
  • Gifford Weary
    and you can read about the research by clicking here.

Quoting part of the summary from the report:

People feel, think, and act differently when doubt rather than confidence is accessible. A traditional perspective on the accessibility of doubt holds that multiple sources of doubt activation should lead to increased levels of uncertainty. In contrast, we find that under some conditions two sequential sources of doubt activation result in decreased levels of uncertainty. We suggest that this follows from a meta-cognitive process in which people come to “doubt their doubt.”

Taken from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Volume 46, Issue 2, March 2010

It seems “doubting the doubt” might offer benefits to us. When faced with doubts and fears on a regular basis “doubting the doubt” might offer a way forward. In one study undertaken by the people cited above simply shaking the head: saying “No” to the doubt showed less uncertainty in the people.

It’s rather superficial though and what lead to long-term change. It’s very much a short-term approach. However, this somewhat small change might be sufficient to bring about deeper change if you suffer from prolonged uncertainty. Uncertainty and doubt may have their roots lying in fear. In Powerchange we operate on a model of ‘loosening the soil’: loosening the things that are around the issue since that often makes it much easier to deal with what matters to bring about lasting change. If you want to know more drop me a ‘line’. If you find yourself regularly affected by doubts and fears do  drop me a ‘line’ as well for a free 15-minute talk together.