How To Verify What’s Real In A World Of Fake News And Other Sh*t


Ronald Reagan became enamored with a Russian proverb:

Doveryai, no proveryai.

This literally means, Trust but Verify. He used it so much during his dealings with the Russians that Mikhail Gorbachev became annoyed by it.

I think the phrase in and of itself is contradictory. If you trust, no need to verify, and if you are verifying, by definition you don’t trust.

To me what makes the most sense is to alter the phrase so that it reads Trust, AFTER you Verify. Verification needs to come BEFORE you commit to trust.

“Trust is like a mirror. You can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack in that mother fucker’s reflection.” ― Lady Gaga

In general we tend to trust too much. We believe all we hear, see, read.

We don’t bother to scrutinize, examine, vet anything.

Well, some of us do, but most don’t. I know this from personal experience.

Blindly Trusting is the 7th of 10 Deadly Mistakes of my life and career. 

I continually see my friends, family, and total strangers continually engage in the following behaviors:

  • Sharing and commenting on clearly false Face Book posts
  • Re-posting and mentioning old outdated content as if it was breaking news — they don’t even look at the date
  • Falling for Click Bait items
  • Misinterpreting Opinions for Facts — we cannot seem tell the difference between an opinion and a fact.

A fact is a statement that can be proven true or false. An opinion is an expression of a person’s feelings that cannot be proven.
– Borough of Manhattan Community College — Learning Resource Center

Why do we not bother to validate and verify?

  • Some of us are just lazy — it takes a bit of work to do the research
  • Our nature is to just trust — its easier to “just trust”
  • We don’t know how to go about good research and checking things out — not knowing the difference between primary and secondary sources. There is an African saying which is: “Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt” — Maya Angelou

We as people, and especially as leaders can’t expect to be successful at life going at it alone. We need people beside us, working with us, giving advice, and mentoring.

As a business leader, you need to delegate, to count on others to manage parts of the business. However, the wrong people with the wrong skills in the wrong place are a formula for disaster.

Here are some simple but proven rules I have adopted, after learning the hard way, to verify before I trusted:

  1. Put people on “short leashes” until they prove themselves. Sorry if this sounds cold and callous. I’m never again doing jail time due to someone else’s shortcomings.
  2. Properly vet and check out people. Research and examine their experiences, credentials, references. Don’t just believe their resumes. I’ve caught a lot of people embellishing, and even outright lying on a resume.
  3. Watch people in their role before they fly solo. Take time to see what and how they do, how they treat others, especially when you’re not around.
  4. Review what people write before sending out. Including emails. You’d be surprised at what people put in writing and how they phrase things. Once it’s published and “in the wild” you lose control over what was said and how it was told.
It just makes sense to check things and people out before you move ahead.

You wouldn’t step into a steaming bath without checking the temperature would you? Unless you like the risk of stepping into scalding hot water.

Any competent, well-grounded person should have no problem with this approach. No strong confident person would have trouble being vetted.

Let me know what you think.

You can connect with me on Twitter HERE, LinkedIn HERE and Facebook HERE. You can send me an email HERE

About Enrique Fiallo

I am a Life Coach, Author, and Blogger. I inspire people to succeed in a complicated world, and write about leadership, self improvement and personal development...
This entry was posted in Accountability, Effectiveness, Empowerment, Inspiration, Integrity, Personal Development, Self Improvement, wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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