Everyone was telling me how to think – from the news to the social media – and I had enough!
I took a walk around the yard this morning and found that even away from the computer I was still hearing the voices in my head telling me what to think and why to think it.
You don’t know me. You don’t know my journey. You don’t know what’s on my mind . . . although you might know a lot of what is on my mind if you listen to my show or read what I write. You definitely don’t know my heart – because there are moments when I’m not even sure what is stirring in my heart.
I have stayed out of this political chaos for most of this election. I would read what was being written and then I would look for the first edges of the story and see if I could find out more. A little research revealed a lot for me. I would listen to the news shows and then I would look for more information about what they were saying. A little effort completed the picture.
Let me tell you HOW to think.
Six Steps for How to Think
1. Is it a fact? Look for yourself There are a LOT of things that go around the internet, that come out in print, and that you will hear at the water cooler that has part of the facts, most of the facts, and no facts at all (in other words, they are completely made up). You should not only trust the source but look it up for yourself. You can open a new browser (make sure you are signed out of your accounts are THEY will skew your results to fit your normal search patterns). If you are looking for information from the past then be sure to use the “time” feature to set your search parameters. When you find the information, keep using that information to dig a little deeper. Be self-informed to be ever prepared.
2. How does it fit? Is it for this one moment or this one thing? I read a story about a dentist that was being accused of stealing from the government because of Medicaid reimbursements (he claimed more procedures than he actually did). With a little research (and some articles from his hometown paper) it was uncovered that it wasn’t intentional fraud but an accident. You try billing medical insurance these days and you will see how easy it is to make a mistake. By taking the time to see how the situation fit, I had a better understanding of the whole story.
Things to look for: is there a pattern of previous actions; does the storyteller have something to gain; does the story fit a particular purpose (which is often made clear with the research efforts)
3. How many sources? Look for at least three independent sources. I was raised to always seek out three independent sources. Anyone that has played the “Gossip” game (where you sit in a circle and one person whispers in the next person’s ear and the whisper goes around the circle until it makes its way back to the original teller) understands that the starting truth is rarely the finishing truth. If I have three sources that tell the same story then I probably have a starting truth on which to formulate my decisions.
4. What’s the tradition? Is there something in the history or custom that promotes it? It may look bad to you but make perfect sense to me – depending on what is “normal” for each of us. Think of the lady that cut the end of her roast off before cooking it. Her new husband watched in disbelief because the meat she discarded cost money (and they were pinching their pennies as it was). After the second time he had to know why. She said she cut the end off because her mom cut the end off. He called his mother-in-law and she told him that she cut the end off because her mother cut the end off. When he finally got the story from the grandmother she explained that she cut the end off because her pan was too short. Take a moment to try and see the situation from the culture and tradition of the moment.
5. Is this now? History is important but it must be weighed gently with the present. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not judge me by the person I was 30 years ago – for that matter I might not want you to judge me by the person I was yesterday – for that matter I would appreciate you not judging me at all. The past needs to be learned from, but it should not be the driving force in my journey – or in how you see me. Look at right now, this moment, and be open (and honest) to judge this moment where it is.
6. Does it matter? Does it matter in your life, your family, your future? One of the reasons that I have stayed out of many of the political debates (and football debates) is because what I think will not change your thoughts. People that want my opinion ask me for my opinion – other people, not so much. If a situation matters to me or my family, then I will speak up – directly to the one that it involves. If it doesn’t matter, then I accept that the story is what it is and I pray that others will follow the pattern of learning to how to think so that the great THEY out there doesn’t dictate the journey.
I get that people are upset about this election cycle. People that are on the losing side of the election are often upset. I have shared my thoughts on who will ultimately be declared the winner of this election and why it matters. I have shared my feelings about the REAL truth that was uncovered through this election. Now I am telling you how to think.
What do you think about all of this?