You’re living a lie

We all know that most young children lie; they never ate the biscuit (even although the wrapper is in their pocket), someone else did it or yes they have been very good. So from our early years it appears to be within most of us to lie when the occasion suits us. There have been many studies done where people have been asked how they perform a task and then they are filmed doing the task and there is a massive disconnect. A number of years ago GP’s were asked how they conducted their patient consultations and then they were filmed for a week and the difference between theory and practice was significant. If I was to ask you all about how you drive, your behaviours while driving and your focus and concentration, with the vast majority of people there would be a disconnect between what you say and what you actually do. We all meet people who tell us a story that we don’t believe, we can see through it to the lie or spin that we are getting told. Recently, I bought a new car it was a six month old demonstrator from a main dealer. I bought it over the internet, based on my false assumption that the dealership had too much to lose with reputation etc to lie about the car’s condition. When I turned up to pick it up the car was not ready and the head salesman told me that they never prepared cars until the customer sees them just incase I backed out. Regardless of the fact that I had paid a deposit, I had travelled over 300 miles to pick it up, I couldn’t judge its condition as it was covered in muck etc. Yes he was lying because they had been too busy, dropped the ‘ball’ and not prepared the car for my arrival. Unfortunately, people do lie in and outside work. We can all remember times when we were economical with the truth, didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings so it was okay to tell a ‘white lie’. That expression in its self tells us many things about the human race – in others words if we can justify something to ourselves it is okay to do it. Interesting question to ponder is where does this all sit with integrity?

I don’t know why this surprises many of us because most nights when you watch the 10 ’o’clock news there will probably be a court case where in reality one of the parties must be lying for there to be such a difference in their stories. Recently we have started hearing a new expression ‘fake news’ mainly due to the coverage of Donald Trump’s election and first 100 days as President. But fake news has been about for hundreds of years, the only difference now being how quickly it can spread around the world. Whether it is the so called ‘State’, government or people with power and influence misrepresenting the facts or information has been and will always be a daily occurrence . One of the major problems that we have to be aware of is how interconnected all the media, news and social platforms are and that they feed off each other. With its massive reach, Facebook has begun to act as a great disseminator of large amounts of misinformation, half truths swirling about the rest of the media. It sucks up lies from news providers, twitter etc and then precisely targets each lie to the partisan bubble most receptive to it. In other words our beliefs and interests are reinforced by information systems that just reinforces them and everything becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. However, let’s get real about fake news; it is a sweeping statement with a largely overstated impact. For years most of us have had friends, social circles and family networks mainly of like minded people, where we generally end up hearing what we want to hear, getting our beliefs reinforced and living in a bubble that we believe to be true. However, there are times when the more astute amongst you will see, hear and feel how others live. You will come away shocked at what you have heard, questioning why you didn’t know that, realising that you should always first seek to understand others view points. There was a famous Labour MP who was being interviewed by a local journalist about constituency matters when the journalist noticed a copy of the Daily Telegraph on his desk. When the journalists quizzed him about this, the reply from the MP was very simple; ‘I know my own views very well, I know the views of my party pretty well what I don’t truly understand is the views of the opposition’.

We live in the internet age where most people source information, knowledge and news from the internet. If I was to say that the internet is 90% opinion and only 10% fact how do you know what you are reading, seeing or listening to is fact or the truth? Many people trust search results more than shared news articles. So is our view of life dependant on Google or in other words our view of the world is in the hands of a tech company. Are you living a lie and/or living in a dreamworld because at some stage the pile of cards will all come falling down? Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right or wrong . Whether in work or outside work people lie so I leave you with one of life’s best questions to ponder as you commute home, walk the dog or when you’re in the gym, ‘how do I know that to be true’?