“Accuracy of statement is one of the first elements of truth; inaccuracy is a near kin to falsehood.” — Tryon Edwards
In the realm of life lessons, I have (on more than one occasion) confused factual “accuracy” for an interpretation. It’s easy to make assumptions. Like the assumption that transforms a “fact” into interpretation (“that couldn’t possibly be right”), or the one that transforms an “interpretation” into a fact (“Hey, it’s my way or the highway!”) All that is required is a minor shift in perspective – that little shift that leads to a distortion.
Catching yourself in a distortion takes work; real vigilance is required.
So ask yourself: “Are you being accurate with what you just heard or are you interpreting?”
Accuracy creates a reality, but so does an interpretation – so…which one is it?
- If you are “interpreting,” then what does it get you? – advantage, position, clarity (without cost)
- If you are accurately “reporting,” what does that get you? – honesty, trust, integrity (and maybe a cost)
If you are unsure which side is dominate, then ask yourself to commit to a ranking: “On a scale of 1-10, with total accuracy being ten, and a total interpretation a one – what does this seem like to me?”
Even if you muster a wild guess, you still have a piece of information that can take you somewhere. Consider asking your numerical “answer” a couple of other questions. “What would it take to make this completely factual and accurate?” “What would I have to admit to see this as an interpretation?” A little curiosity goes a long way.
We all value the “truth” and we all live with “interpretation.” So this isn’t about “absolutes.” It’s just a matter of being honest with ourselves and accepting the possibility of distortion.
The images I have for the “truth” and “integrity” are the same. It’s the image of a stone, cupped in the palm of one’s hand – entirely unbreakable and completely natural. Integrity and truth are not free from distortion or assumption – and – they live as a complete whole; a fusion of mind and soul. Only this personal fusion of mind and soul can accept the contradictory nature of accuracy and interpretation.