One more powerful way to filter words: triple filter test

If what you’re about to tell me is not true, nor good, nor useful, why tell me at all?

Audio version available here.

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Let me tell you a story about Socrates.

Socrates is one of the greatest philosophers of ancient Greece at the time and was looked up with high regard. One day an acquaintance approached the great philosopher and said “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied, “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth.

“Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“Well, no actually I just heard about it and…”

“All right,” said Socrates, “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now, let’s try the second filter…”

The filter of Goodness

“Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“Ummm,no, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left-“

The filter of Usefulness

“Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

It’s natural for us to want to tell people about rumours

Or share particular kinds of information, whether it’s more gossip or drama. There’s something in us that makes us want to do things like that at times.

In a sense it makes us feel connected, like we are part of a group more or less. But at the end of the day it is much like what I talked about on Monday with THINK.

Gossip or rumours don’t help anyone

And I know that people will continue to gossip and keep tabs on people. It’s natural, we’re human after all. But I believe there comes a time where gossip doesn’t really help all that much.

Much like with Socrates, there comes a time where rumours about his friend doesn’t really help him. How does knowing what his friend did or has done actually help him? How does that help anyone?

How does knowing what a celebrity had for lunch the other day help you have a better life?

It goes back to picking out the quality pieces of information

Again with the THINK model, you’re filtering out comments and phrases that aren’t inspiring you or helpful. On the other side you are ensuring that your own words are inspiring people, and are helpful to them. They are worth actually thinking over.

The same is true with this model. You are ensuring that your words are helpful, that they spark some kind of change. Whether it’s something small or big it doesn’t matter. What’s important is you’re changing the world and also changing how you are exposed to information.

What steps can you take to inspire even a small change in your life right now? Leave a comment down below!

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Eric S Burdon is a Youtuber, Blogger, and Author who focuses on positivity, mindset and growth, sharing his journey through these.


Entrepreneur, positive-minded. I used to say a lot, now I do a lot. Documenting my growth. Support me on Patreon:

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