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Aug 27

Opinions Are Not Facts

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

While opinions are sometimes true, they are false about as many times.  One day I may be right about something, but the next day I could be wrong.  

Once when I was driving on the highway, there was a truck going 35 in a 55 mile an hour zone. I started to grumble at the truck for driving so slowly. When I had an opportunity to pass, I could see that the problem was a car in front of the truck traveling at the low rate of speed. I had allowed my opinion to become fact. The truck didn’t cause the slow traffic; it was the result of a slow car I could not see.

We tend to be quick to treat our opinions as facts.  That’s why I've learned to use a lot of clarifying questions when working with clients. I will ask, “Why do you think that?” or “Do you have specific information to support your thinking?” 

Opinions tend to come from feelings. As Dr. Jim Dobson has said many times, “feelings will fool us every time.”

I am involved with the damage restoration business. I was visiting with a potential customer who had mold growing aggressively in the crawlspace of a new home construction project. The builder thought the homeowner could place a portable heater in the crawlspace to dry it out. I explained that mold needed three things to grow:  moisture, warm temperature and food. The mold already had moisture and food.  I explained that by adding a heater with poor ventilation to the situation, the builder would create more mold rather than less. The builder argued that I was wrong.  I politely asked the builder if he had certification in structural building drying and mold remediation. I used science to explain why the mold would get worse and not better if he put heat into the crawlspace. Unfortunately, the builder never agreed.  His opinion was his fact. I walked away disappointed for the homeowner who would be stuck with a mold problem in the future. 

In another situation a neighbor was having trouble with leaves curling on his tomato plants. He had taken samples to a master gardener at a farmers market. The gardener immediately recognized the problem and told my neighbor how to correct the situation. Rather than following the advice of the master gardener, my friend decided that the plant simply needed more water.  He increased the water to the plants, and over several weeks the tomato plants got considerably worse. His opinion was his fact, but he was wrong and lost his tomato plants as a result.

I know that I can be opinionated. I need to be careful that I don't allow my opinions, thoughts and feelings to become my fact when they are not. Scripture relates, “’You simpletons!’ she cries. ‘How long will you go on being fools? How long will you scoff at wisdom and fight the facts?’” (Proverbs 1:22, TLB) 

In your business don’t substitute your opinion for fact.  You will eventually lose the fight. 

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