After my cataract surgery I saw things more clearly. At least I thought I did. But it was only from the perspective of clearly viewing objects like road signs and eye charts. Those things weren’t fuzzy anymore.
Many of us have fuzzy thinking or reasoning or decision-making because our reality is seen through filters as murky as cataracts, remove the filters and have a clear view of life. For example, if someone tells you a certain restaurant is terrible – with poor service and tasteless food – the comment tends to influence your own experience at that restaurant. You view your own experience through the filter of another person’s judgment.
Similarly, you may hear part truths from others when you receive news secondhand, distortions of the facts when someone passes on information from the Internet, or when you receive someone else’s interpretation of an event they may have witnessed.
Filters can be formed by other people, your own past experiences, impressions formed in childhood, the environment, the media or whatever. But we owe it to ourselves to see life as clearly as possible.
This involves accepting the comments of others as their opinions; but finding out for yourself whether that restaurant is really so bad or whether a person is actually conceited or if the information from Wikipedia was reported accurately.
Of course, many things have to be accepted at face value. For instance, you’re not going to return to a burning house to confirm that the gas tank is really about to explode.
But where people’s reputations or character are at stake, your own decisions about to be affected, relationships in peril or your own reputation threatened, you will want to do the research yourself by viewing situations with your own eyes and not simply filtered through the eyes of others.
In cases where you cannot check the veracity of something you read, at least check the original source. If you are a trainer or speaker or consultant or writer, and other people rely on the information you pass along, it is particularly important to check your sources.
I have been guilty in the past of passing along erroneous information simply because it appeared in an article or book or newsletter. For example, the infamous Yale study that supposedly showed that written goals vastly increased earnings, the research attributed to Maxwell Maltz that indicated it takes 21 days to form a habit, and the faulty interpretation of Mehrabian’s work on the importance words, facial expressions and the way words are spoken when communicating.
As technology and research methods become more sophisticated, older research findings may be proven inaccurate or incomplete. We have no control over that. But we do have control over reporting facts as they are, and not as others may see them.