I recently watched the film, The Rover with Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. There’s a point in the film where Pearce asks Pattinson about the verity of information he shares with him. He says, “Is it something your brother told you, or something you know?”
The question begs for certainty. How many of us spread information that we heard from somewhere else? Facebook, gossip websites, and the news are shady sources for information these days. How often do we jump to conclusions about people or events without thinking about the truthfulness of it? Usually, we don’t even know the full story.
I have done this so many times and I end up looking silly. Speaking before thinking; something a fool does.
Plato once said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.”
At times, when I feel insecure or threatened, I start spouting off any information I know to appear smart, strong, etc. But the “intelligence” I bring to the table is weak because I can’t back it up; and my display of confidence is a smokescreen. In the end, I look foolish and my words lack credibility.
Wise men work hard to discover facts, then (like Plato’s quote) decide if they have anything to say. The hard work to discover truth (verifiable facts) brings about confidence because they become more credible. And they do not need to make a show of their knowledge. They use their knowledge to change direction when necessary.
I’ve worked at this for a while and it is tough to develop new mental habits. It’s not easy to put yourself on the spot, and suggest that you are wrong. (We hate being wrong!) It’s not easy to admit you never did the groundwork to make such conclusions. However, if you commit to being true and cultivate the habit of searching out the facts in any situation, you will strengthen the ground you walk on.
We need to care more about the truth than making our smokescreen really convincing.
How is your fact checking? Can you admit when you do not have all the information? Don’t go on hearsay, or the office gossip. Ask, do I care enough to research the facts on this? If you don’t care, don’t waste breath on an unfounded opinion. Ask, am I confident to keep quiet on this one?
A rule to live by: Only say something if it brings new, credible information that can change the course of conversation.
Week 31 – discover the truth. “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” (Buddha) Start your road to truth, admit when you don’t have all the information. Begin verifying facts. And go all the way when you decide you want to know something. Three personal growth benefits to look forward to this week as you develop the habit of being true: credibility, confidence, and strength.