There is only one Truth

We live in a day and age where we all get our news from different sources. If you are at all like me, you may find yourself watching TV to see the FOX AND CNN broadcast, just to get the take on a story. Then you may go on-line to USA Today, CNN, your local news paper or local TV broadcast. Then there is Twitter, Instagram & YouTube. Of course we have our family and friends who give us their interoperation of events. This is not to even mention the ‘known’ #fakenews outlets. There was a much simpler time when you could pick up your local newspaper or even the NY Times or Washington Post and feel confidant you were getting the ‘real’ story. Isn’t that what we all really want? The straight scoop, just the facts, not the ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ but the honesty of the matter.

Sometime ago, a close friend was recounting the story of how a very close mutual friend and his wife were in the midst of a divorce. We both knew each of the couple and had talked to them separately. Interestingly enough, we both concluded we had received different versions of what should have been the same account of circumstances that occurred that started the rift. He made the comment “it seems to me like there is her side and his side and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle”. After thinking about this for some time, I came to the conclusion that there may be different interpretations of factual events but there was only one event, it was singular and it was in fact the ‘truth’ of the matter. We humans are just that, human. We make mistakes, we embellish, we exaggerate. Some are much more skilled at this than others.

The fact is, there is only one truth. If you were to consult any dictionary you will find a definition along the line of: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.

Each of us walks a different path in this journey we call life. Along this path, there will be others who join us along the way. Some stay, some go and some will be with us for a very long part of our journey. Hopefully we are learning as we walk this path and becoming better human beings. Each of us however will make choices along this path. Each of these choices will have an impact on our lives and the lives of others, these are called consequences.

I’ve had conversations with many people in the course of my professional life in the HR & Staffing World. Many times, a candidate will go through the entire interview and selection process only to have their offer rescinded because of what was discovered in a background check. It could be a driving issue, it could be a criminal issue it could be a medical issue. Generally, I would have a very direct conversation with the individual and let them know that because of the outcome of the completed background check, we were no longer able to move forward. If was a driving issue, I might say something like, ‘if you can go for a period of time without speeding, or drinking and driving or running traffic signals then you may be reconsidered’ So many times, individuals could not understand how their behavior affected the hiring decision. In other words just a disconnect with an understanding of what many would considered simple laws. If you speed and you get caught, you get ticketed. If you drink and drive and you get caught, you get ticketed.

When I would talk to my family members or close friends about their job search, I would often ask, does the company do a background check? I would share with them that it would be helpful for them to know that sooner rather than later. Why apply for a job as a bus driver, if you have a terrible driving record over a long period of time. Ultimately, you will be disqualified for the job because your driving record is a primary consideration.

There have been times when I have been asked to speak to young people at a High School or even a Junior High about their job search and employment. I would talk about the topic of the background checks being a part of so many companies employment process. I would try to make it simple and draw an analogy related to science. My favorite was that of Issac Newton and his natural laws. That is the Laws of Motion and Universal Gravitation. A simple example would be: if you toss a ball in the air, it will go up and then it will come down. This is a natural law called gravity. It is an accepted truth. There isn’t any other competing truth that says: if you toss a ball in the air it may or may not come down. There is only one truth.

I make these simple analogies because it seems to me that today, we are bombarded with information but so little of it is truthful. Finding the truth of a matter may not always be so easy. Sometimes it takes research, asking questions, talking to individuals who are deemed trustworthy or credible. There was a day when we may have volumes of an Encyclopedia in our home. Or if you were so disposed, you could go to the library and consult various publications. Today, I go to Wikipedia if I want just the facts and then I don’t necessarily always trust that to be 100 percent accurate. Interestingly, in the Encyclopedia and Wikipedia there are annotations called ‘Citations’. These are references to other sources that will attest to the truth of an event. Many times, these articles might include the statements or testimony of witnesses. The more the witnesses the greater the likelihood of veracity or truth. I find it very interesting that in the courts of the US, it’s customary to have eye witnesses take the stand, put their hand on the Bible and then attest to tell the truth. I guess this assumes that unless an individual doesn’t do that, they may not really be telling the truth.

So what is the point of this story? Be careful about what you believe to be the truth before you act. Use the tools that are available to you. How many times have you heard someone say ‘if you don’t believe me, Google it’. I know people that will not make a major purchase like a vehicle or major appliance unless they consult Consumer Reports. How many times have we considered purchases from a web site like Amazon, Home Depot or Wayfair and read the ratings and and the comments before we make a purchase?

I would suggest that if we do indeed value truth, we will find it. It takes some longer than others to realize the importance of the truth. I’ve heard some say they have an ‘intuition’ about such matters. Maybe that is so, maybe in our years of experience and personal growth we develop a sense for what is true and what isn’t. I head it said once from an individual who is a financial advisor; “wouldn’t you rather rely on my experience of learning from others mistakes than making your own”? I had to admit he made a good point. Why would I risk my hard earned money making uneducated or unwise choices. This individual had learned from the mistakes of others and developed some wisdom on financial topics. Today, I think it’s a good idea to seek out individuals that have a depth of wisdom on weighty matters.

This is not a political topic. It is a topic that can be applied to many aspects of our lives. We have Blue states and we have Red states. We have Republicans and we have Democrats. We have disinformation and we have truth. Truth does not have a political party. Politicians on both sides of the isle can be truthful or untruthful. My hope is that we will all be able to discern the truth as we move forward with this new Administration in the coming four years. I’ve come to learn that politics has an agenda. That is the platform on which politicians campaign and if elected, we trust they will be truthful and hones and take action on those campaign promises. We live in a country where our leaders are under a microscope. If a politician goes to a restaurant and doesn’t wear a mask where one is required or they are not socially distancing, it will be discovered and it will be news. There will be those on the Red side and those on the Blue side of this topic.

Either way, the truth is, four years down the road, we will have another fork in the road and yet another decision to make.

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