I have a couple of friends that like to share their opinion. They generally do this by forwarding emails that show the opposing side (the side they do not agree with) in a compromising position. However, when I do my due diligence, I often find the ‘facts’ they are sharing to be false. Occasionally I bring this issue to their attention. They are almost always disinterested, preferring instead to cling on to the false information because it molds to their own set of beliefs.
As I contemplated this, I realized that the same thing is happening all around us as we try to make decisions. Should I use sugar or sweetener? Or – Should I start a business or get a job? Ask your friends and they will have an opinion. Some might say, ‘I once had a friend that started a business and people say it did not go very well.’ Another might say, ‘My uncle is an entrepreneur and I think he is the wealthiest guy I know.’ So, what do these statements have in common with the false junk mail that is constantly being passed around? Well the most obvious similarity is that they are both completely devoid of fact. Neither one should have any value in regard to establishing your own opinion.
Now, more than ever, the world is full of opinions. False information is not created by accident. It is purposefully created by people who want to sway your thinking. It is your job to determine the difference between opinion and fact. Successful people do not cling to false information because it fits their preconceived ideas. The only way to make great decisions is to be open to learning. The only way to be open to learning is to accept the fact that you might be wrong. Learning is not accomplished by taking to your friends, family and neighbors and asking them, ‘What do you think?’ Learning occurs by putting in the hard work that is required to separate fact from fiction. It is not easy. It requires a game plan. It requires stick-with-it-ness. It requires vigilance. It is called due diligence. However, once you have the facts, then you will know what the right course of action is. By doing this you will separate yourself from the average person and stack the deck in your favor.
I am going to leave you with a saying that is attributed to Mark Twain –
‘If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.’