Sometimes a concept is so basic,
so fundamental, so key,
that it escapes us.
One of those concepts is “truth.”
(Warning: Philosophical ideas ahead.)
(Note: The application is awesome.)
Not all that we hear is true.
Unfortunately, the human race has a history of bending the past, shading the present, and predicting negative for the future — all in order to match out-of-truth personal beliefs. Think about it.
We engage in quite a few mental gymnastics, in order to make ourselves look and feel good. We grab an idea that flies by. We jump to conclusions. And we, quite honestly, take on a boatload of ideas without thinking much about them. (Notice the “we” verbiage, as in you, me, and all of the human race.)
We decide, “This must be true,” and so it is.
(It’s the ol’, “Oh, yes — I believe it!” followed by the subconscious, “So now I’ll go out and find the ‘facts’ to support my belief.” Hm.)
Bias is real.
The truth is,
- We underestimate our biases.
- We underestimate the fact that our history taints our present.
- We underestimate the power of how set beliefs influence our thinking.
The truth is,
- Each of us carries the blessing and baggage of perception (negative and positive).
- Each of us is (most of the time) unaware that we’re filtering, making decisions, and speaking to others a “truth” held tightly in our perception.
- Now we act. Wrongly. Because we’re responding to a false belief.
False beliefs >> lead to >>
Misperceptions >> lead to >>
Spoken ideas and physical actions that are not true.
Hang with me here. Because it’s important to note…
Spoken false beliefs >> lead to >>
Mistruths >> can (and most likely will) lead to >>
Hurting others, by omission or by action.
We need to be people of discernment.
Not suspicious. Just wise.
Facts/info/truth >> leads to >>
Clearer perceptions >> leads to >>
Closer-to-reality beliefs… words… and actions.
And that’s positive.
It leads to understanding.
Even if Truth exposes a negative, it’s okay. We now understand and can respond well to it.
It takes a thoughtful mind and open heart to discern the truth of what we hear: who those we meet really are, what they’re really like, and how they’re really interacting in the world, near and far.
It behooves all of us
to not have
To measure what we hear.
To weigh out.
To think clearly.
To understand that the person speaking is filtering the information through tainted thoughts, experiences, miscalculations, off-base ideas, defensiveness, projection, misunderstanding, and even fear — and that history isn’t always perceived in truth.
(The truth will set us free. John 8:32, The Bible)
- As a leader, when we keep in mind “baggage” and “bias,” we interact more wisely with those we lead, especially in crisis or challenge.
- As a business owner, when we keep in mind “miscalculation,” we gather more information and measure our direction before we take off with an unfortunate goose-chase program or product.
- As a communicator, when we keep in mind “misunderstanding” and “defensiveness,” we listen and respond differently.
- As a fiction writer, when we understand “history” and “fear,” we write rich characters with goals, motivations, and conflict making story believable, memorable, and powerful for the reader.
- As a nonfiction writer, when we understand “past negative experience,” we write spot-on, targeted information that moves people to action.
Let’s be individuals who understand bias, listen openly, and seek Truth.
Because Truth is oh-so healthy.
Truth moves forward.
Erin M. Brown, MA/MFA (aka author Erin Brown Conroy/EB Conroy), is a professional writer/author/editor with a terminal degree in writing and over 20 years of experience, including as the author of eight books; thousands of articles and professional materials; marketing and web writing; multiple curricula on writing, reading, leadership, and communication; and over 50 online courses created and used across the world. A former professor of writing, research, leadership and management, and interpersonal communications at two different universities, Erin writes, coaches, and speaks internationally.