“There Aren’t Any Versions of the Truth” — Ian Malcolm

Business & Strategy

Early in one of my favorite movies, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Dr. Ian Malcolm (the weird scientist) gets into an intense discussion with Peter Ludlow, a colleague of Dr. John Hammond. 

Hammond is nearing death (it is not stated, but is implied), and to the chagrin of his investors and those next in line to command InGen, seems motivated to make things right after the fateful events on Isla Nublar.

Ludlow has convinced himself that there is still hope for the Jurassic enterprise and complains to Malcolm that every reporter seems to have a different version of the truth. 

Of course, Malcolm was there. He knows the truth. The truth was no mystery. 

Ian’s response could replace a thousand philosophy books: “There Aren’t Any Versions of the Truth.”

The same is true in your life, in your business, in all of reality. Some would like you to believe that the truth is what you make it, or what you decide it should be, but that is an unlivable worldview. 

When you’re running a company, you can’t afford the “your truth, my truth” mentality to invade. It is the enemy of progress because it fights reality. 

Your systems, processes, tools, and policies should live and die by the objective truth of every situation. This is particularly important when you are doing client work. 

Nothing kills teamwork, trust, and productivity faster than a he said / she said mentality. 

To paraphrase Jesus, when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. This is not a simply a religious mantra, it is empirically true. To say there are “different versions of the truth” is to invent a euphemism for “lies.” 

Truth sets you free because it is liberating. It saves you from unnecessary anxiety and stress. It helps you move faster. It eliminates confusion. It allows everyone to work with the same data. And importantly, it fosters trust and communication. 

Live and die by the truth.

May 19, 2022

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