The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions. – Leonardo da Vinci

Not a picture of me, but I have a T-Shirt like it in a drawer.

What does that mean?
Let’s face it, I’m the greatest Dad in the world, right? I’ve got the T-Shirt to prove it! Isn’t that what this quote is all about? We often have opinions that are different than what is real. Both overly optimistic and overly pessimistic opinions are part of most people’s self evaluation.

We also often have opinions of things other than self which are not an accurate reflection of reality. These deceits are, as often as not, deceptions created by someone else, but we often continue believing them without thinking and challenging them.

Why is avoiding or breaking out of deception important?
At thefreedictionary.com, deception is defined as “a ruse or a trick.” In this quote, we are cautioned against tricking ourselves, or allowing ourselves to be tricked by others. In either case, we are in full belief of the deception, and that is the core of the problem.

Once we buy into the ruse, we are trapped. The only way out is to question the deception. The trick then becomes knowing what to question and what to believe. If you choose incorrectly, you remain trapped in a deception or spending time questioning things that are true. The trick is figuring out what is what, and which is which.

Where can I apply this in my life?
The best way to avoid or break out of deception is to examine your life. Start with the things you are sure you know to be true. Question these things briefly, but sharply. By that I mean that you shouldn’t just do the usual quick or rhetorical questions. Choose one hard question and follow where it goes.

As an example, if you really believed you were the Best Dad on Earth, you shouldn’t use the T-Shirt your kids gave you on Father’s Day as proof. Ask a more pointed question instead. A comparison to your parents or the parents of the friends of your kids might be a start. I would use statistics, but I’m a bit of a math geek.

This ‘de-crap-ifying’ of your life may take some time and some honesty, but I have found it to be an enjoyable journey. Note I did not call it a destination, because I don’t believe you ever get there, you are always headed in that direction, but there are new deceptions lurking around every corner.

To me, there is a fine line between faith and belief. I don’t ask you to challenge your faith, but you want to challenge the things you believe in which might not be true. Does that distinction make sense to you?

The method I use is to try to be aware of anything odd in a belief. The best deceptions are based at least in part on a truth. This helps the deceit pass the initial “smell test.” The more sensitive you are, the easier it is to spot the parts that are not true.

Once you’ve peeled back the edge of the deception, it becomes easier to peel off the rest of the untruths that are the deception. This, in turn, gives you a hint about what else might be deceptions. If you have a series of related beliefs, finding one to be have an element of deception gives you a hint as to where to check next, right?

Take a moment, and some paper, and write down a couple of things that sound nice, but that don’t seem to feel quite right. These will be the things you investigate a little deeper. Have you examined your political beliefs, your economic beliefs, or your personal skill beliefs lately? These might be a starting point if you are having difficulties finding something to question.

For each of the items on your list, write down the core truth you think is at the base of the belief. This next part can be a little difficult until you get some practice: come up with a question that shakes the foundation of this truth. With the “World’s Greatest Dad,” you might ask “How many T-Shirts with that slogan on it were sold last year?” That’s a question to which you might be able to find the answer. If that number was greater than one, you might want to dig a little deeper. I hope that made sense.

Repeat the questions as necessary until you decide that the item has been determined to be solid, reduced, or completely trashed. In the case of the “World’s Greatest Dad,” you might determine that you may not be the greatest in the world, but that you are better than average, or the best dad for your family.

I’m not out here trying to destroy your world, but I do want you to introduce a little truth into your life. Living in a web of deceptions, that isn’t likely to end well, is it?

From: Twitter, @motivatquotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/leonardoda383004.html
Photo by skpy

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