There is one thing you just shouldn’t doubt. You.
Is this the right format to reach people? Is this the best way to lure people into reading? Do people even read? Or do they just scan? Are we post-scan now? Should I write this as an email? Surely this would be better as an email. Or perhaps people are post-email, post-communication, post-caring? Everyone’s very busy. They’re not post-busy.
Welcome to my thought process. Perhaps it resembles your thought process at the moment. Frantic. Jagged. Uncertain. Although it’s my own process, there’s an alien presence lurking behind it. You may recognize the figure: an old friend of mine who might resemble an old friend of yours. Doubt. You know them. I know them. As I was writing that first paragraph I could already feel them skulking up behind me and tapping my shoulder.
So welcome back, Doubt. I know you never really left, but it’s reassuring to know you’re there. At least I think it’s reassuring. You keep me on my toes. Never let me feel comfortable enough to get carried away. You’re always just present enough so that I’m always speculating, always wavering.
But Doubt, I have to be honest with you—and I hope you don’t mind all this direct address, it’s better than sending an email—I’ve got to break something to you. Some people really hate you. I mean really. Detest even. I know! I tell them all the time, “Doubt’s all right.” Some of them say: “No doubt.” And I say: “Sorry, what?”
If they have a problem with you, this is what I tell them. I hope you don’t mind. I say: “Doubt’s cool. You don’t want to hang around with them too much, but in small doses, Doubt’s perfectly decent.”
But this year— man, it’s been a stinker. There’s no other way of saying it and the year’s far from done. While the rest of us have been sticking close to home, locking down, staying apart, you’ve been everywhere. You’ve been traveling like it was autumn 2019. You’ve been disregarding any sort of border closure, haven’t you? You really managed to find a way in. Shit, I’m not even talking about crossing a land border. It looks like you even managed to insinuate yourself into the algorithms of Twitter and Facebook. Everyone’s going nuts!
We’ve lost all sense of, well, you know, common sense.
How did you do that? Genius, that’s what it is. You managed to find a way in. You managed to lure people into a state of flux where they became uncertain of the truth. We now ask ourselves: is it possible to hold onto anything truthful? Or is a half-truth as much as we can expect? You became so prominent that the likes of Donald Trump, Kanye, Elon, and Boris all used you as a tool to exacerbate uncertainty. They weaponized you. No doubt.
I have to be honest, Doubt. You scare me sometimes. I mean, wow. A lot. What can we believe? Did Bill Gates start Covid-19? Is Donald Trump building a wall? Is Mark Zuckerberg really sorry? Will Kanye be king? God? President? 5G. That’s the real killer, right?
A decade ago we saw web 2.0 coming and grabbed it with both hands. Back then only the fringiest of the fringe believed the earth was flat. Now, with some very convincing video, flat-earthers and their conspiracy brethren are a force in the world. You remember the world? That round orb we live on?
A decade ago we started WeTransfer and over time we created a few very simple tools to keep people in their creative flow. We get it.
Doubt can be a major distraction, so everything else shouldn’t be.
Over the last ten years so much has changed: the climate; safety; politics; transportation; media; consumption; music—you name it. These are the most uncertain of uncertain times and it’s perfectly reasonable to ask questions. You should. Doubt’s not bad in the right amount. You should doubt what those around you are saying and doing. Harness the power of this doubt. Question your sources. Examine what you read and what you share. Question whether everyone around you has forgotten the definition of common sense. And then do your thing, get up on stage and show them what you’re made of.
There is one thing you just shouldn’t doubt. You. Use doubt, but don’t doubt yourself.