December 21, 2006

Wise men challenge their beliefs; fools rationalize.

Very often we have our own views, ideas, beliefs, thoughts, solutions, and strategies to deal with our personal and professional lives. Equally likely is the tendency among majority of us to justify or rationalize them, often without objective analysis or consideration. The goal is to arrive at some reasoning – even if specious – that appears to validate our way of thinking.

This particular behaviour to rationalize one’s way of thinking, without objective analysis, is rampant in corporate corridors. There seems to be a race to prove oneself right and others wrong on an issue, even though others may be right! There is nothing wrong in debating and proving your beliefs and ideas, but that needs to be done in an objective manner supported by facts and sensible reasoning. It should not be misleading – either intentional or unintentional.

Wise men are different. They consider their ideas and solutions as hypothesis and put them to rigorous trial by fire. They leave no stone unturned to prove their ideas wrong. They even encourage others to try to disprove their hypothesis. Only when they fail to prove their ideas wrong, do they accept it as true and worth pursuing. This trial by fire also ensures that people get convinced about an idea or solution or belief, and give their best to bring it to fruition.

The difference between fools and wise men is simple: Fools try to prove themselves right by inventing innovative and unrelated reasoning; wise men prove themselves right by failing to prove themselves wrong despite earnest effort!