Tag Archives: Truth

A better alternative to facts

A better alternative to facts

Fact-checking is hard work. It’s a lot easier to pass along that email about the Australian PM threatening Muslims to integrate or get out of the country, or about an aircraft carrier attempting to bully a lighthouse into changing course, than to check if it’s true.

People often pass along stories that reinforce their worst fears and beliefs, and we reflexively accept them as true simply because of who passed them along or how it’s presented. And many of these stories are not as easily falsifiable as the ones the current U.S. President tells. So what should an optimist do?

To share or not to share: an easy test

Here’s an easy test—maybe not for truth—but for what to spread. Ask yourself the following questions:

Does this interpretation, fact or narrative promote

  • Fear
  • Hate
  • Division

Yes? Then disregard it. Don’t like it, comment and definitely don’t share it. Even if it’s true, anything that causes fearful and hateful reactions will divide us into opposing groups.

Focus on what builds and unites

It’s easier to kick a sandcastle them to build one, and this is a great metaphor for life. It’s easy to destroy a city, business, relationship or life than to build one, and surprise surprise, sometimes the truth can be as destructive as a lie, which is why when it comes to deciding what to focus on, or pass around, I think a better criteria than truth are kindness, helpfulness and compassion.

How to tell

If you’re wondering how to tell if a narrative, belief, fat or opinion is not helpful here are some follow-up questions you can use to assess whether it makes sense to not comment or hit the share button.

  • Does the story, belief, fact or opinion
  • Paint an entire nation, gender, ethnic or religious group in one stereotype.
  • Give one explanation as THE reason for the behaviour of a person, group or country.
  • Make you or the group you belong to feel stronger, better, morally superior to another?

Look to the agenda of the person telling the story.

Is the person pushing this position guilty of a double standard e.g. being for it now that his party is in power, but against it when an opposing party is. Shows like The Daily show, A Closer look and Last week are valuable because they expose this hypocrisy.

Share what is helpful rather than truthful

Mandela was great because he focussed on what was more important for his country than his being right about apartheid’s evil. He could have focussed on the truth about apartheid and the rightness about punishing its perps, but instead he chose to focus on what was more important: a future S.Africa that worked for all races.

This meant letting go of the hurt, anger and injustice of what was done to him and his people. Focusing on the truth about what happened would have led to thoughts and acts of vengeance, but then what?

He didn’t want to switch places with the Afrikaners, he wanted to include them in a new S. Africa that worked for everyone. This didn’t mean denying or ignoring the truth but simply placing attention on the stories of a new bright future.

I think a bright future for mankind depends on more and more of us making a similar choice…every single day.

Trust but verify

Trust but verify

Most people spread lies without ambitious agendas. They often parrot other people’s talking points and opinions because it makes it sound like somebody’s home. They’ve never thought about distinctions of truth, belief, fact, opinion, assessment, gossip, and allegation, or why they matter. They’re not weak or stupid, just lazy and indoctrinated. Not surprising. Maybe weContinue Reading

The lie about lies

The lie about lies

We are indoctrinated into thinking lies, all lies are bad, and creates an unnecessary internal conflict, because lie-telling plays an important role in creativity, and compassionContinue Reading

Fool me … Shame on who?

Fool me … Shame on who?

There’s a famous quote that goes, Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. It’s attributed to a Randall Terry but we’ll never forget—and always be grateful for—George W’s mangling of it. (Video below.) It’s an important quote because it says that individual responsibility for the truth is as much theContinue Reading

My scientists smarter than yours

My scientists smarter than yours

Not two weeks ago, I was floating on a noodle, beer in hand, life and conversation good, when the topic of climate change came up and suddenly the world seemed full of short-sighted ignorant people. It started when a new friend seemed untroubled that 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record,Continue Reading

The half-life of a grievance

The half-life of a grievance

Every now and then, an old grievance comes to mind. There’s one about a guy who accused me of something I didn’t do, and whenever his name comes up, the grievance is right behind. Sometimes from out of nowhere the grievance enter’s the spotlight of my mind and a variation of the incident replays —oneContinue Reading

Trump’s success formula and what we can emulate

Trump’s success formula and what we can emulate

We all know the risk of being insensitive, rude and politically incorrect. We’ve felt the sting of crossing the line enough times to know it’s not socially acceptable. How then to explain Donald Trump, who attributes his success to crossing that line? What is the Trump winning formula and is there anything about him toContinue Reading

Thinking now old-fashioned

Thinking now old-fashioned

The truth, we’ve been told, is out there somewhere and we can thank science for showing us how to arrive at truth, reject untruth, and most importantly to dethrone old truth’s that no longer apply. This is good because the truth is much bigger and more unknowable than we give it credit for; that’s whyContinue Reading

The whole truth and nothing but

The whole truth and nothing but

Many of our people problems at home and at work come from the common mistake that we can know not only the truth, but the whole truth … and nothing but. We can’t—and that’s why I can’t imagine being selected for a jury. How could anyone take the oath “I solemnly swear to tell theContinue Reading

What is it all about?

Got this in my inbox the other day: Peter, if it was just about surviving, getting by, and keeping things the way they are, then how would you explain imagination? If it was just about sacrifice, selflessness, and altruism, then how would you explain desire? And if it was just about thinking, reflection, and spiritualContinue Reading

A Better Alternative to Assuming and Opining

Knowing the danger of opinions and having a practical alternative to them is essential to making good business and political decisions and for the proper care of your relationships. In my last post I gave a very vivid example of the negative consequences of making assumptions. Don Miguel Ruiz in the Four Agreement was rightContinue Reading

“Look at him, he’s laughing at you!”

Many years ago my girlfriend and I were walking through an open field at the Toronto zoo.  It was late afternoon on a perfect day; blue sky, warm weather, sounds of birds and people in the distance.  We had already been there for a few hours, and we were having a great time. As weContinue Reading

In defense of Gossiping

In my last post I wrote about the Consequences of Gossiping and like most things in life there are many shades of grey.  Below there is an amusing story about gossiping that suggests that while you are well advised to remove yourself from gossip it is not wise to be completely oblivious to it. Here’sContinue Reading

When You Can’t Trust a Trapeze Artist

A few weeks ago, I was at a birthday party and I introduced myself to some friends of the birthday girl. They didn’t look alike at all and I was genuinely surprised when they insisted they were siblings. They all had really great energy and I engaged in a very lively and I thought genuineContinue Reading

Why can’t you find THE answers?

I was reading a fellow blogger’s post today, and in it he said his purpose was to help you find THE (my caps) answers to certain life questions.   This reminded me of some of my earlier posts on truth where I talk about the concept of truth and that perhaps Jack Nicholson’s character wasContinue Reading

Oceans of Truth

Most people are taught that the truth is some final answer that can be fully known, comprehended and owned, that it is finite and describable. Well, it is so NO-OOTT, as the valley girls would say. There are two major aspects to the truth that when acknowledged could make this world a very different place. Continue Reading

Breakthrough in being with another’s POV

The other day I was having a drink with a good friend of mine and he began to relate his impression of one of the political candidates in the upcoming election.  To say that his view was completely at odds with my own is to put it mildly.  What was really interesting though was thatContinue Reading

Humility Producers

I can’t believe I did that! I mean really; what could have I been thinking?  I’m too embarrassed to describe the event, but I will say that it was inappropriate. And to top it off, it was with a very put together professional who could be of immense value in my professional growth and aContinue Reading

Who is this person I’m in a relationship with?

I’m a big fan of the movie Crash because it did an excellent job of illustrating this point:the greatest good and the greatest evil lies within us all. What got me writing about it now is a couple that I know that is going through a rocky period. I’m not going to describe details …Continue Reading

Are there no lies then?

This question only makes sense as a follow up to my last two posts so if you haven’t read them please do. The answer to the question is there most definitely are, and you can consider a more powerful relationship to lies that is less destructive to relationships and more supportive of your being aContinue Reading

Are beliefs true?

Because you believe something does it make it true? There was a time when educated people believed the world was flat, that ships could not be made of metal, the earth was the center of the solar system and indeed, the universe. The answer to my title question should be obvious yet, this is aContinue Reading

What is your concept of truth?

What is your concept of truth?

What is your concept of the truth, and why is it germane to the practice of your life? Well think about it.  If you live your life according to things that you believe are true, and they’re only partially true or flat out wrong, what do you think the impact would be on your life?Continue Reading

Obama’s “A more perfect union”

If you haven’t seen or read Barack Obama’s speech on race on March 18th, 2008 I highly recommend that you do (link below). Regardless of your political persuasion, I think you will agree that it was at least different from what we’ve come to expect from politicians. Now the word different does not begin toContinue Reading

What is this blog about?

So I begin my blog.  Can’t tell you the degree of professional procrastination that has this date be Mar 11th 2008 vs. Mar 11th 2005. Oh, what would I write about it? What if I make mistakes? What will people say about my mistakes?   And my grammar sucks. What happens when I change myContinue Reading