Authenticity Practice #4: Separating fact from explanation

All progress slows when explanations masquerade as facts. Get vigilant about the difference and you will reduce the time, money, and stress it takes to solve problems. Please pick some unsolved problem or difficult situation related to your vitality imperative and follow these steps:

1. Relative to your challenge, fill in the two columns on the second page of the pdf:

a. FACTS must be mutually observable and unarguable. Anything that is arguable should go in the explanation column. Just because you believe something strongly does not make it a fact. For example, “He is irresponsible and disorganized” is not a fact. If one of those strong opinions comes up, investigate: What has actually happened that led to that opinion? A fact might be “He arrived after the scheduled starting time for the last three project meetings, and twice he said he did not have current information about his team’s performance.”

b. EXPLANATIONS are interpretations, deductions, and opinions about what the facts mean. Facts are like stars in the sky and explanations are what turn those stars into constellations.

  1. Get someone to review your columns and point out any explanations masquerading as facts.
  2. Spend a day noting every time you or someone else cites explanations (interpretations, deductions, opinions) like facts. You will take many notes that day.