What people call the truth is nearly always made up of two things: what happened and what it means. “What happened” refers to the actual happenings as a VCR might record them. “What it means” refers to all of the story that people bundle into the truth in their minds.
For example, at a basketball game, the team you’re rooting for may score a last second shot from mid court to win the game by 1 point. You might present the “truth” that your team scored a brilliant last second come from behind win. A fan who supports the losing team might describe the “truth” of this same event as your team making a desperate but lucky shot to steal the game from the better team. If both of you are telling the truth, how can your accounts be so different? Because, the truth is only that a shot was made that won the game; the rest of what both of you told as the truth would more accurately be meaning, story, or interpretation. It is vital to distinguish what happened from the rest of the meanings and interpretations that people add. This is especially true because so much of the meaning and interpretation happen automatically at a very emotional level and so much of it has the power to determine our happiness and fulfillment if we allow it to. Perhaps the fans of the losing team will be angry and unhappy for weeks over that single victory. A player on that team might even decide that it means that he is unworthy of athletics and drop out of the program. That same player could instead decided that it means he should practice more so that he can win the next one. The decision of which story to attribute to the outcome of the game may very well decide much of that person’s future!
- learnings from landmark