Imagine someone is introducing a new project, and you point out the flaws. If you’re right, and others agree, then the project might not happen. No harm, no foul. If you’re wrong, then it doesn’t matter because you were just playing devils advocate. It’s a safe position to play no matter what happens.
On the flip side, when someone introduces a new project and you say, “I support this because ___,” now you can be blamed if it doesn’t work. Or, you could be singled out for supporting “a wild idea.” That’s scary. But we need more people to play that role. We need more optimists that are willing to stand up for something that might not work.
As Seth Godin likes to say, “the devil is doing just fine, he doesn’t need an advocate.”