I had a boss who had a great way of challenging our thinking, to get us to stop restricting possibilities with our preconceived ideas: he would ask us to “suspend disbelief.”. Not blindly conform to conditioned structures, and just as validly to not conform to unexamined pronouncements. Instead, he invited us to approach ideas with skepticism, but forbade cynicism.
I like that distinction. Skepticism invites healthy exploration-it says “this may or may not be true, let’s explore it more.” Cynicism says “there’s no way this can be true, exploring it is a waste of time.”. Skepticism approaches the unknown or unproven objectively; cynicism builds an all but insurmountable wall of negativity in front of any consideration.
Note too that skepticism is not blindly following, but instead objectively considering the possibilities.