The natural expression of Skeptic is be clear and systematic in examining the assumptions in any proposal. While Skeptics are typically focused in the immediate past, they excel at finding whatever point of view will reveal the weaknesses of an idea. Skeptics attempt to avoid the problems of the past by advocating critical thinking processes as the best solution. They are fact-checkers that follow up possibilities to make sure that the plan is scientific and appropriately detailed. While they can be technical and lucid, they also have a divergent, comparative way of thinking about problems that can be extremely penetrating and insightful. Their interest in confirming the reality of a situation is also detached from the results, which makes them able to eliminate wishful-thinking.

This attitude reveals a preoccupation with the past in which choices are examined carefully and with great scrutiny. Skeptics doubt, question and investigate, being predisposed to believe that all things may not be as they seem. It is great to have one Skeptic in a business organization that questions and clarifies the assumptions of the group. This is an attitude that stimulates the mind to doubt, question, and investigate things, to discover what lies beneath appearances. “It Might Not Be” is the common assumption. Our intellectual approach and unceasing questioning (especially when something may be really good) sometimes makes it difficult for other people to relate to us. We are good at making breakthroughs in science, making changes in any area with which we come in contact. Structure & self-examination.

“It might not be” is the common assumption of Skeptics. This Attitude stimulates the mind to doubt, question, and investigate things to discover what lies beneath appearances. It is this scientific way of thinking and examining every detail that makes this Attitude a difficult one for many others to relate to. Skeptics are fact ascertaining and empirical, getting caught up in literal details, which only the Realist attitude can match. They inherently seek to pursue the truth and find the veracity of information the most important thing to examine. They search for precision and accuracy to the point where there is no more fuzziness. Others may believe that they are too rational, technical and unimaginative because of how they try to maintain impartiality.

Skeptics are highly effective at seeing the hierarchy of a situation so there is no confusion between what is provable and what is not. Their great skill is their sharpness in walking through a process in a discriminating manner. In this way, a Skeptic uses laser-beam intelligence to direct all of their attention on one spot so a breakthrough can occur. For Skeptics, life is a form of self-discipline and self-assessment that ultimately provides the framework and foundation for progress. The small 5% of Skeptics make about half of the breakthroughs in science and technology. Unfortunately, this sharpness of thinking can be very off-putting and judgmental in situations where people would rather have more flexibility in their interpretation of things. Many individuals are repulsed by both the self-absorbed quality and self-defined way Skeptics interact. It is their separateness that actually allows them to see things in clear ways, but these discrimination tools frequently do not work as well with people.

The timeframe focus of natural Skeptics is usually on the immediate past where they have ascertained the truthfulness of things. They do not totally trust the present to provide answers. They tend to diminish the views of others, which they often think are not well-thought-through. They hate impulsive activity toward a goal without any clear understanding of the situation. They mainly trust what they know and are usually against what is new until it has been proven to work. It is their ability to see the literal truth and not be distracted by appearances which makes their penetrating insight so powerful. This inner lucidity brings to light many hidden issues in a situation which helps to break others out of ignorance.

Unfortunately, while others may respect their insights, it does not mean they are able or willing to change their way of thinking. Skeptics fear most that inaccuracy and untruth may creep in and distort their reality. They believe that by not caring about a result, this keeps them open to examining all the aspects of a particular process, but the process itself may be biased and clouding the results. This means that Skeptics are subject at times to the illusion that there is one truth to be known. It is often useful to have one Skeptic in every work group to see what is not being understood by a group.

Identifying: Skeptics can be identified mainly by investigative detachment and a striving for non-judgmental descriptions so they can believe the results of their investigation, which they do before any other assertion. They are most interested in the veracity of any claim, which needs to be tested in a precise, lucid and comprehensive manner. They hate that they may have overlooked some important detail or aspect or missed some observation that was critical to their conclusions. The primary indicator is their unwillingness to accept anything at face value. The more others can be deceived by appearances, the more they are unwilling to accept the status quo assumptions. This shows up externally as contrary opinions, frown lines, and a suspicious nature around “fuzzy logic.”

Primary Focus—To keep clear what the truth is regarding the subjects we are examining. “The unexamined life is not worth living” was the saying of the Skeptic Socrates. Skeptics are the people who remind others that things might not work out the way they expect. We bring discipline and valuable self-assessment tools to any group.
Responsive Characteristics—Investigation, seeing all points of view, non-judgmental, striving for knowledge, getting the facts, looking deeper to see what’s really going on, questioning.
Primary Fear—That inaccuracy and untruth may have crept into life, that we may overlook some important detail, aspect, or view important to what we are trying to accomplish.
Reactive Characteristics—Suspicion, picking apart, doubting everything, lack of trust, argumentative, “everything looks difficult,” adding problems where they do not exist.
Percent of the population operating from this Attitude: 5%.
How to recognize a person with this attitude: Contrary opinions, frown lines, great converts.
Examples: Val Kilmer, Billy Crystal, Richard Geer, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Nixon, William F. Buckley, Jr., Candice Bergen, Diane Sawyer.

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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