What is the truth?
We are amid a global pandemic and I spend time almost every day reading stories from around world. Some of them sound like global truth and some of them sound like personal truth. It seems important in times of crisis to have a good understanding of how to discern the difference between the two. We must know the difference in order to make the best decisions for the well being of our businesses, our families and ourselves.
First let's try to define the difference. If these are indisputable facts, and we must even be careful what we label as indisputable. There is the truth from our perspective, more commonly known as opinion, but what I like to call our personal truth. Many of us easily and often interchange opinion with fact and will argue these to the very bitter end. We can hold so tightly to our personal truths that we are willing to start wars. It can be a war within our own families or with other countries. We get so twisted up in our own beliefs with each party thinking that the other person’s truth is somehow a danger to their very lives.
There are also ideas which I wouldn’t call facts but are more commonly held opinions and we just assume they are true until some new information comes along to prove otherwise. These are scientific facts.
The questions become, with two types of truths floating around out there: How do we know the difference between them?
Let’s start with something easy. We live on a big mass in the middle of a vast space. That is as close to a truth as we can get. How our bodies work is based on scientific fact. Which political party is best, is a personal truth.
Have you ever experienced a situation like this one?
You took a course from someone that assured you they had the secret to amazing marketing success and where they were going to teach you, the lucky & willing participate the “only” successful method, and in the end you followed all the steps, only you have the results be a flop?
Sure, these folks sounded 100% sure and may even had you convinced of their experience, because it worked for them. This is their truth. With a small t. It doesn’t make it untrue; it just may not be true for everyone and not for you.
Did you ever look through a Kaleidoscope when you were a child? The picture changed depending how you turned it right? Imagine each turn of the Kaleidoscope is a different person’s view of the same contents in the Kaleidoscope. The contents are always the same, just the view is different. Each person will believe what they are seeing is truly what is in the scope and they will be right.
This is really the essence between the big Truth and the little truth. Understanding this difference can save you hours of arguing and lots of money and stress in your life and your business. The next time you are arguing with someone, stop and ask yourself the question:
Are you arguing over who’s version of the truth is right?
In the end, you both are right. Often, we argue about whose version of the truth is right for the following reasons:
We need validation – our self-esteem is low, and we are looking to have external validation of our ideas.
The other idea scares us – accepting the other idea as true means a shift in our internal belief system that is not acceptable to us or means that we would have to accept something we are afraid is true.
We are not feeling resilient – it may have nothing to do with the other person or their ideas, we may just be feeling anxious or unwell because of unrelated feelings.
Being able to tell the difference between personal truths, scientific facts and the Truth will help you to make informed decisions that are good for you. Here are a few ways to tell the difference:
We often don’t feel the need to argue against a global Truth. Anything true with a capital T will be a solid unarguable position. We live on a mass in space. The Truth can exist for us all, and we can agree together on. It won’t have any subjective wording to it. People are catching Covid-19. There are TV’s. The ocean is made of saltwater.
Scientific facts are just human opinions that have been tested. It is especially important to understand how scientific testing works because the test results are interpreted by humans who are very invested in how those results are presented to the world. They are biased and although most will try to remove that bias, not every test will. If you aren’t familiar with how to determine whether a scientific study’s results should be relied on, then it’s time to do your homework. Who funded the test? Were they invested in one outcome or another? Who else has tested this opinion? Were their outcomes the same? Knowing these answers is important. The more times studies there are the more likely it is to be right. You can’t always rely on this though so if there is an issue that is very important to you, do your own research and evaluate all the studies you read for bias.
Personal truth is the hardest sometimes to discern, because we have the most personal attachment to it. Either positive or negative. For example, you are talking to a fellow business owner and they are telling you about how they changed their business to advisory only and tripled their revenue and only work 20 hours a week by working with their business coach. She’s done the same thing for all her clients. You get excited; she has a proven system, and this is just the thing you’ve been waiting for! There are many ways to earn revenue in a business. Just because it works for that coach’s clients and your peer, doesn’t mean it will work for you. It may, but it may not. You need to evaluate the situation based on your own needs and criteria with that in mind.
Understanding the difference between these truths is a fundamental step towards accepting that it is ok to have a different truth than everyone else. When you do that you are empowered to stand in your truth and make decisions that work for you and your business while still maintaining compassion towards everyone in your life. Your customers, suppliers, and employees will know exactly who you are and how to relate to you as well as feel confident to do the same! This is the true definition of an empowered business leader.
Now go out and live your best life!