“Just the facts” was attributed to a radio satire called Dragnet back in 1953. That statement seems strange today amid all the fake news we hear. “Fake news” was not a term many people used four years ago, but it is now seen as one of the greatest threats to our way of life. I thought about the current political environment. Last week there was a news special report that implied that the current administration created “fake news” 97% of the time. Some of that is our perception, like my truth and your truth, but it impacts us every day.
This is more than politics these days. I have seen this happen in business, politics and our personal lives. Sometimes it is hard to know what to believe. Today I received a call telling me that someone was on the way over and would be at my home in ten minutes. I ran around getting everything ready, and 45 minutes later a car drove in my driveway. A simple thing but typical of what happens. Over time we tend to adjust our interpretation of statements, and when I hear ten minutes, I determine that what was meant was within the hour.
With all that storytelling I found a lot of rationalization. A rationalization is a form of self-deception by which we convince ourselves that what we just did is justified to achieve a good result. Often we tend to rationalize for people we care about. If we were true stewards, we would hold them accountable for their actions and promises. We should do the same with our selves.
If you have a value system that rejects lying, or fake news, you will not experience joy in this environment. The problem is, we rely on what we are told to adjust our life. We change schedules and activities based on what we perceive was said. Now imagine if you were running a fast-paced business. You would rely on what you are told and what you perceive to be true to manage that business. Things can get very confusing very quickly. At some point, we tend to give up. The energy it takes to interpret every response we hear becomes so invasive that we can not make good decisions. We tend to try and control the situation. One of the most popular methods of regaining control is to do everything yourself. We do not rely on anyone. We soon get overwhelmed because there is not enough time in the day to do everything.
I have not found a simple solution to this. We have to rely on others and learn how to communicate better. The best results I have experienced were when I repeat back what I heard and what my expectations are. As I develop a level of trust, I adjust my expectations and often make those expectations known. I have also learned that if I do not say anything there is no correction made and the situation becomes worse. You cannot ignore that our culture is changing. We must adapt.