“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” — Falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln
When I researched this famous quote, I found some interesting facts, great insights about its origin, and who may have uttered some version of this for the very first time. Up until this week, I had always attributed this quote to our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.
With increased frequency, it seems that many of us these days are finding out that we may have been fooled or misinformed about lots of things over the years. Maybe even in very recent history. Perhaps even today. If we see it, it must be true. If we read it, it must be fact. If we hear it from a reliable source, it must be indisputable. If it appears on social media, there must be no doubt about its authenticity.
“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story” — Falsely attributed to Mark Twain
Sadly, many of us now filter everything we see, hear, read, or experience through the lens of potentially being duped. Our trusted sources are no longer trustworthy. Opinions have become facts. And no longer is it just the deemed famously important politicians, celebrities, athletes, and others who previously held the title of influencer, it is anyone and everyone propagating misinformation or disinformation to further an agenda or action whether that agenda or action is good or evil.
It used to be that we could easily discern the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. Books, TV shows, comic books, movies, and plays all clearly depicted good versus evil, right versus wrong, up versus down, and nighttime versus daytime. Today we count on posts, memes, ads, apps, and ads on apps to provide that same guidance. The legitimacy of what is being said and received has everything to do with priority and agenda propagation and nothing to do with reality. The validity of what we see, hear, read, or experience is determined by our threshold of hope or fear in that very moment.
Somewhere along the way I heard this one, “The problem with quotes on the internet is that it is hard to validate their authenticity.” — Abraham Lincoln (Anonymous). Think about that one for a minute. As a society, how funny have we become? And it’s not only ha-ha funny, as there are some tremendously amazing comedians among us, but it is also strange funny with stories so outrageous that we just might be led to believe that Abraham Lincoln really did make a quote about the internet.
The thing is this, the horse has left the barn, the train has left the station, and there is a good chance that neither horse nor train is ever coming back to the barn or the station. For those of you familiar with my column you may be asking yourself, “What pessimist wrote this trash and what did you do with my forever optimist?” Well, stay with me because here it comes.
You already know everything you need to know about right and wrong, good and evil, up and down, and night and day. No one must tell you the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. You don’t have to “log in” to “be in” the know, you already know. The only two things you really need are already within you, and they are approximately 18 inches apart. That is the distance between your heart and your head. All you need to do is connect the dots.
Are you letting other’s truths get in the way of your real-world story? Is your desire to live in hope greater than your tolerance for fear? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we can learn to discern the truth, connecting the last few inches between our heart and our head, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.
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