To borrow from Thomas Jefferson, each of us holds many truths to be self-evident. Most of those go beyond the scope of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He and his colleagues built a republic around that relatively simple concept. Every two years, we subject ourselves to an election process that, as many elected officials like to point out, has consequences about future choices and decisions regarding our collective welfare on local, state, and national levels.
Our vote usually is based on our personal awareness of a variety of circumstances. And, if you think about it, our personal actions on a daily basis regarding family and business succession are also based on our current level of awareness regarding family members, business colleagues, and business conditions. When our awareness turns out to be false, then we can’t help but make poor choices and decisions. It’s the old computer principle all over again: Garbage in, garbage out.
A very good friend and colleague is fond of saying to others that “I have to speak my truth.” One day, after hearing that comment once too often, I pulled my friend aside and said “I think it’s fine that you speak your truth. Just realize that your truth may be false. You might want to expand your awareness a little bit so that your body of factual knowledge continues to expand.”
As harsh as that may appear to be in print, it came across much better when spoken. Partly because I also acknowledged that I am not always as smart or correct or factual as I think I am either. But once I become aware of the error, I can change my opinion, my behavior, or my decision; and I can sustain that change over time.
Every once in a while (daily?), it’s a pretty good idea to test your general level of awareness, even if it’s just to prove yourself correct. Here are a few questions for you – don’t look up the answer, just respond based on what you believe to be true:
- A brick weighs one pound plus one-half brick. How much does one brick weigh?
- Los Angeles is south southwest of Reno, Nevada. True or False
- You begin the day with 17 sheep. All but 9 die. How many do you have left?
- When he built the ark, how many animals of each kind did Moses take on board with him?
- Early map makers believed California to be an island. True or False
If you missed these questions, probably nothing dramatic is going to happen to you. At the same time, if you got these questions right, probably nothing dramatic is going to happen for you. But suppose these questions were more serious and dealt with questions about your child’s personal motivation and career interest? Or maybe they deal with questions about whom to promote and why they would be a better choice than someone else? Now how important is it to know that your truth is true?
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