Gentle Bamboo Solutions

The Devil’s Advocate


When the Catholic Church decides to canonise someone, they take it very seriously. Canonisation is the process of officially declaring someone as a Saint. Someone who is worthy of being sainted needs to be completely beyond all the accusations that the public may levy on them. The most recent example is of Mother Theresa who is now Saint Theresa.

There is a God’s Advocate who favours the sainthood and presents all the virtues of the candidate. But, more importantly, there is a Devil’s Advocate who argues against the candidate. If the arguments and evidences of the Devil’s Advocate are more powerful, there are cases where the Sainthood was denied.

One of the most conservative organisations in the world still practices this. There’s a lesson here.

When we make choices and decisions, we need to hire and listen to a Devil’s Advocate. The only purpose of that person is to poke as many holes as possible in the decision. If their argument is stronger, we need to have the conviction to alter or even kill our most closely held ideas. The Devil’s Advocate can be overruled of course, but not having one at all is a bad call.

Find someone who can be ruthless with your ideas. Not because they hate you, but because you need to be certain of some things before setting sail on wings of hope. It’s not a matter of fear or timidness to hire one. It is a matter of courage and humility.

Humble and Brave,