Truth Can Make Mistakes Easier

Truth can be as misleading as a lie.

October 12th was a perfect autumn day here.  Sunny and not cold.  I was walking with the dog and noticed the maple trees , while still beautiful, have lost many of their leaves.  The old golf idea that has led to many a failed round, “Trees are mostly air,” is quite evident.  Being mostly air does not imply that a golf ball will fly through them.

It started me thinking on the value of truth.  Can a thing be true but have false, even always false, implications?  Is truth necessarily a good thing?

Truth is a good thing, but the obvious, possibly intuitive, implication are not necessarily so good.  Be careful if helpers are telling you implications.  Even if truth underlies the idea, implications are contextual.

RRSPs are a good thing, implication  therefore I should make a deposit.  Registered Retirement Savings Plans are a good thing if you need retirement income, have taxable income now, have no credit card debt now and possibly have no mortgage on your home.  They are contextually good, but they are better in some situations.  No credit card debt is a necessary condition.  2% interest per month on the debt makes the use of the money in an RRSP wrong.  There is no tax deduction that will make this a good deal.  Mortgages are more problematic.  You can analyze it though.

Risk is a bad thing.  Again this is contextual.  Risk that you cannot manage is an issue.  Risk that you gain no reward for having taken is a bad thing.  Taking a risk for which you are adequately rewarded is a good thing.  You may have noticed that the casino business flourishes.  Taking no risk at all is almost always a weak choice.

Being forced to learn things that you will never use is a bad thing.  Every teenager has voiced this opinion.  Even if they are right that they will never use the material, they are not right in believing the subject to be useless.  Even useless subjects teach you different approaches to research or thinking.  The way you think about and research history is different than the way you do math.  Music is not like chemistry.  They teach us in a different way.  There is no useless subject if you consider all of its components.

Truth in the sense of factually true is a narrow view.  Truth in the sense of meaning is never wrong.  Meaning allows you to connect facts to your life and your goals.  Meaning is how you judge implications of truth.

Do not accept superficial truth.  Accept its meaning in your situation.  See how it aids you in your quest for success.


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Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact:  

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