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Thinking or Believing Does Not Equal Knowing

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim connor 50Are you the smartest person in the room?  Wish you were?  Used to be, but age or some other factor have stolen your influence?

 

There was a time as a global speaker that I believed I was the smartest person in the room until after one speech many years ago I discovered I was probably the dumbest person in the room. What a wonderful and life-changing experience that was.

 

Let me ask you - what do you actually - know - other than the basics; your name, address, relatives, job position etc.?

 

If I was given the opportunity to question media folks, politicians, religious leaders, educational people etc. - "How do you know that?" I will personally guarantee you that 99% of the time they will give me opinions, prejudices, feelings or anything that has become a part of their mental "makeup."

 

Try it the next time you are having a conversation with anyone - boss, customer, spouse etc. ask them - "How do you know that?" And watch as they search for random information that in most cases will not be grounded in truth, facts or evidence.

 

What am I trying to say here?

 

Well, for starters there are some things we know but there are a lot of things we believe we know but we don't.

 

Take this article for example - there is no way I can know how you are reacting to anything I am sharing.  Yes, I can guess but it will be just that - a guess and not grounded in facts.

 

Let me give you just one quick recent example.

 

Listen to any politician answer most questions and I will guarantee if you could personally follow-up with a - How do you know that, you would get a strange stare.

 

So, what is the difference between knowing and thinking?

 

First of all, just because you learn something - from a book, seminar, class, friend, boss etc. doesn't mean what you are learning is true now or ever has been.

 

Second - just because something has now been etched in your mind that you learned in the past and now believe or think - doesn't mean it's true or fact.

 

So how do we know anything?

 

Well, I know when I hit G on my keyboard G is coming up on the screen.  When I hit - Save - I know it's saved.  This is technology.  When I put my car in reverse I know I'm going backward.  When I set the oven to 350 degrees - the same.  Again, these are technology or mechanical issues.

 

However, when I am driving 70 MPH on the highway and I am separated by 25 feet from the person in front of me I don't know that I could avoid an accident.  It's called assumptions.  I am assuming his or her car won't break down in front of me while we are driving.  Been there?

 

Just because I order a meal in a restaurant doesn't mean it will be cooked properly or is even clean.  Now, I'm not making wild accusations here, just simply that there is more in life that we don't know than we do.  But most people believe because they think something - they know it or it's true.

 

So, let me ask you - what do you think you know that you think you know but you don't really know but often ack like you do? ##