Believer and Doubter Stances

In any situation where people are looking for the truth, making a decision, or assessing new data, there are two basic stances they can take: the Believing Stance or the Doubting Stance.

Both stances are powerful and important ways of getting to the truth or the best decision. We need both. We also need to know when we are using which stance and why we are using it at that point in the process of coming to a conclusion. Learn to recognize which stances are being taken by the people engaged in the activity. This understanding will help you appreciate the underlying dynamics and contribute and time your own ideas more effectively.

  1. The Believing Stance looks for truth by:
  2. The Doubting Stance looks for truth by:
  3. Believing Stance traits include: involvement - commitment - opening up - softness - flexibility - cooperating - support - adaptability - listening. The Believing Stance permits one to explore and discover the value of an idea, and often to adapt it or modify it to fit the needs of the situation. One of the most difficult aspects of taking the Believing Stance is fighting the itch for closure which the stance may create. The results of only believing lead from interest to enthusiasm to gullible naivete.

    Doubting Stance traits include: extrication - disengagement - detachment - rigidity - closing up - toughness - hardness - aggressiveness - competitiveness - adversarial - desire to talk and correct. The results of only doubting lead from doubt to skepticism to cynicism.

    The Doubting Stance has a monopoly on legitimacy in our culture. It is our default setting.  Socrates, Descartes - propositional logic -  the scientific method -   "rational" thought process" -  be realistic" -  question everything you hear - the way to proceed to truth is to doubt everything and what is finally immune to attack must be true.

    Using the believing stance first leads to exploring all the possibilities of an idea. Following up with the doubting stance avoids pitfalls and naive mistakes. Using the doubting stance first leads to negativity, mistrust and withdrawal. The values of an idea will never be discovered or explored.


Return to Index of O.D. Handouts