Imagine the following scenario:
I’m sitting in a business meeting with a potential investor discussing my company’s shareholder agreement.
The investor prospect asks, “T.K., can you explain the meaning of the second sentence in the first paragraph on page two?”
I randomly respond by saying, “I had pancakes for breakfast this morning!”
The prospect gives me a weird look and then replies, “…and what does that have to do with my question about the shareholder agreement?”
“Well, I don’t know”, I say defensively. “But it’s TRUE! I REALLY DID have pancakes for breakfast this morning!”
If the above scenario sounds a little “off”, that’s because it should.
It sounds “off” because of a basic distinction we all recognize between “truthfulness” and “relevance”.
“Truthfulness” is the quality of someone who accurately reports facts.
“Relevance” is the attribute of something that is usable or related to the matter at hand.
Being truthful is not the same as being relevant.
What I have to say may be factual, but that doesn’t mean my facts are going to be useful, helpful, or connected to the things that matter to the audience I’m addressing.
In my above scenario, the statement “I had pancakes for breakfast this morning” was TRUE, but in relation to my potential investor’s concerns it was irrelevant.
It may have been relevant to ME. After all, I get to decide what’s important to me.
The investor, on the other hand, is under no obligation to indulge ideas that are irrelevant to HIM nor does he need to feel guilty for refusing to do so.
Here’s today’s two cents:
There are many sources of information that are eager to inform you of the latest horror story that took place somewhere in the universe.
And even though these horror stories may frighten you, depress you, or stress you out, these “news outlets” feel quite proud of themselves for telling you anyway because, after all, IT’S TRUE!
“But it’s true!” is the ultimate trump card.
Because if something is true, then we’re being delusional if we DON’T pay attention to it, right???
You’re being delusional ONLY if you ignore something that YOU actually NEED to pay attention to.
If you’re choosing to ignore a message of doom and gloom because 1) it doesn’t benefit you to be aware of it and 2) your energy is better spent on constructive things, then you’re not being delusional. You’re being deliberate. You’re being conscious of how you use your time. You’re being healthy.
Some truths, whether they feel good to listen to or not, ARE things you need to know.
HOWEVER, there are also some truths, including so-called negative ones, that you DON’T need to know.
Ultimately, YOU have to be the one who decides what kind of information-diet best serves YOU.
This is not about other people’s right to report whatever facts they wish to report. It’s about your right to decide what you should focus on.
I believe in freedom of speech. I do NOT believe in the mindless consumption of every piece of data that’s put in front of our faces.
Be deliberate about the stories you consume and the ideas in which you indulge.
Whether they are negative or positive isn’t what’s important.
What’s important is that you are putting your attention on the things that take YOU where YOU want to be.
At least that’s the way I see it.
What are your thoughts?
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