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Everyone loves to pass on information, otherwise known as having a good gossip (!). And, human nature being what it is, the juicer and more scandalous, the better... 
 
So, with it now being August, otherwise known as the “Silly Season” – and that’s without everything else going on at the moment (!) – it seemed like a good time to pass on a story and simple technique to help inject a little sanity into the proceedings. It’s stood the test of time, coming from the Ancient Greek Philosopher, Socrates, and goes like this: 
 
One day a man runs up to Socrates and says: “I have to tell you something about your friend who…” 
 
“Hold on” Socrates interrupts him. “Before you talk to me about my friend, did you put it through the three sieves?” 
 
The man said he hadn’t heard about the three sieves before. 
 
So, Socrates continued, “The first sieve is truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you’re going to tell me is true?” 
 
“Well, no” said the man “I just overheard it.” 
 
“All right” said Socrates “So you don’t know whether it’s true or not.” 
 
“Yes, but, I really want to tell you about it…” 
 
Socrates interrupted him again, “The second sieve is goodness. Is what you’re about to tell me about my friend good?” 
 
The man slowly shook his head. 
 
“Yes, but I still really want to tell you about it…” 
 
“Ok” said Socrates, “So you want to tell me something bad about my friend and you don’t know whether it’s true. That just leaves the third sieve. Is it useful?” 
 
Again, the man shook his head. 
 
"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?" 
 
We all love a good story – otherwise known as gossip (!) – but how often do we stop to check whether it’s true before passing it on? Let alone kind or useful. 
 
Before getting swept along by it all, perhaps it’s time for a quick fact check of our own. Is it: 
 
True? 
Kind? 
Useful? 
 
Or, put another way, would we like the same to be said about us to all and sundry?!? Now that really is the acid test… 
 
As always, the choice is yours. 
 
 
 
Photograph by unknown author 
 
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