Do you find yourself getting involved in gossip on a regular basis?

In contexts where gossip, rumour, and innuendo are rife, this could be a good story* for you to tell others to challenge the culture.

The Philosopher had just spent another hard day at the university asking lots of pertinent and challenging questions. On the way to his favourite brasserie for dinner, he was greeted by an acquaintance. “Do you know what I just heard about your friend Jean-Luc?”

“Just a minute,” said the Philosopher. “Before listening to this I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

“Huh?” said the acquaintance, who was eager to pass on the juicy tidbit of gossip.

“That’s right. Before you talk about my friend Jean-Luc, it might a good idea to just pause and consider what you are about to say. I call it the triple distillation test. The first distillation is through the filter of truth. Have you made absolutely certain that what you are about to tell me is the truth?”

“Well…no, actually, you see I just heard about it, and thought, well you know…”

“All right,” said the Philosopher. “So you have no idea whether the information is true or not. So let’s try the second distillation through the filter of goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“No, not at all, in fact…”

“So,” interrupted the Philosopher, “you wish to tell me something bad about my friend Jean-Luc, but you’re not at all sure that it’s true. However, you may still pass this test because there’s one more distillation process remaining, the filter of usefulness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend in any way useful to me?”

“Um. No. In fact, not in the slightest.”

“Fine,” said the Philosopher. “If what you want to tell me is not true, good or useful, why do you wish to tell me at all?”

Thought to consider:
Personal and professional integrity is essential if you want others to follow you freely and without commitment.

The wise person pays attention to the wider consequences rather than immediate distractions.

To your success…

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* – Story from More Magic of Metaphor – Stories for Leaders, Influencers and Motivators by Nick Owen Pg 76. © Crown House