Doubt everything all the time

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Richard Feynman doubted traditional mathematics. That's a
pretty big doubt. He created a new maths called Feynman
diagrams (technically a new kind of algebra). Doubt was

central to the thinking of Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning
American, famous for his work on quantum mechanics and
particle physics. He doubted the ability of traditional maths
to describe this new subatomic world and therefore
invented a new maths, now the most widely used in that
field. People were using old maths to describe a new world
and it didn't work. He doubted everything, constantly,
because he realised that ifwe didn't have doubt, we would
not have any new ideas. He believed that nothing was
absolutely certain.
Freedom to doubt is the most important aspect of our
culture. Doubt should be promoted in every organisation
and company. Many fear the consequences ofdoubt but it
is a door to new potential; being unsure gives you the
chance to improve the situation. It is absurd to think thatwe
can find out everything there is to know by listening to
experts, parents and authorities without doubting ortesting
it for ourselves.
It's not just those whoseek to revolutionise our understand
ing of particle physics, like Feynman, who can benefit from
doubt. Henry Ford's Model T dominated the car market
after he introduced it in 1908. He doubted the lengthy,
traditional way in which cars were made and invented the
assembly line that enabled cars to be built from the finest
materials but cheaply. He doubted the expense of supply
ing a wide choice of colours; he famously said, 'Any
customer can have a car painted any colourthat he wants
so long as it is black.'
After years of innovations, though, Ford became compla
cent and stopped doubting. He had no doubt that the
Model Twas all people needed. By the nineteen-twenties,
consumers and competitors did start doubting it - why
couldn't they have new cars in new colours? Ford nearly
destroyed his own company. His son, Edsel, saved the day
by doubting his father's strategy and finally Ford moved with
the changing times.
Doubt is a key to unlocking new ideas. Einstein doubted
Newton. Picasso doubted Michelangelo. Beethoven
doubted Mozart. That's why they moved things forward. If
Einstein had believed that Newton was right wewould have
no theory of relativity. If Picasso had believed in
Michelangelo's view of the world he would not have devel
oped cubism. It's essential to doubt everyone and to know
that you don't know. Certainty is a convenient and easy way
out of our discomfort. It is the mind's equivalent of fast
food - to satisfy our hunger for answers with minimal effort.
Doubt, on the other hand, is a great incentive for personal
growth. To doubt, to not know, to ask questions, to err and
to fail, is the best and only way to learn, grow, progress and
move forward.
Doubt this book. Doubt what you know. It's important to
listen to teachers and experts and seek out knowledge -
but at the same time, doubt. The powerof science and art
is doubt. Everything that has been achieved over the last
500 years is because of doubt. It is by doubting that we
come to investigate, and by investigating that we discover
new ideas. Doubt everyone and everything all the time -
especially yourself.
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