I came across this quote this week in Complications, a book by Atul Gawande, while reading on my commute to work. It was referred to in the context of surgeons unwavering decisiveness in the face of uncertainty surrounding the best course of action for patients. In many aspects of my life, this is how I see myself. When it comes to studying or executing tasks, I have very clear and laid out plans of action. When an obstacle interrupts plan A, you move on to plan B and so on and so forth.
However, before this summer, this did not apply to my opinions on anything I deemed political or controversial. I always doubted myself because I didn’t feel I was educated enough to form an opinion without first doing some research. When family, friends, or classmates brought up a topic that I did not necessarily have a stance on, I quickly stepped out of the conversation or listened from the sidelines.
Since starting the Moxie program, I have established a background knowledge to begin developing my own thoughts and opinions. This extends beyond the narrow view of the eight specific topics we discuss during seminars, but I have created a foundation on which to draw from as new topics and situations arise. For example, with the US-Mexico border crisis unfolding, I felt comfortable forming an opinion that isolated different actors without generalizing good vs evil or making blanket statements ungrounded in historical inequities.
Still though, I have lingering feelings of wondering if my decisions are valid. Last night, one of my fellow Moxies mentioned sharing a similar feeling around her own opinions. I hope that as the program begins to wrap up, I can apply my decisive confidence, which I can tap into easily in other realms of my life, to my opinions about politics and controversial topics. Maybe we can even work together to push each other to articulate our feelings and share our knowledge we have gained from the program, especially back at Duke next year.
So, here’s to making my opinions as strong as my resolve. I’m sure more often than “sometimes” I will err, but I promise to stop doubting my own thoughts.