The Wisdom of Leaders

We all do it…act on or take for granted that the information presented to us is true, accurate and of value.  Sometimes we just need a little reminder to slow down, ask some questions and check out the validity and usefulness of the data driving our decisions and behaviour.  Enjoy this story I stumbled upon (source unknown)!

In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just  heard about Diogenes?”

“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied, “Before you tell me I’d like you to  pass a little test.   It’s called the Triple Filter Test.  “Triple filter?” asked the acquaintance.

“That’s  right,” Socrates continued, “Before you talk to me about Diogenes  let’s take a moment to filter what you’re going to say.

The first filter is Truth.

Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

”No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it.”

”All right,” said Socrates, “So you don’t really know if it’s true or  not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness.  

Is what you are about to tell me about Diogenes something good?”

”No, on the contrary…”

”So,” Socrates continued, “You want to tell me something about Diogenes  that may be bad, even though you’re not certain it’s  true?”

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, “You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness.

Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes  going to be useful to me?”

”No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “If what you want to tell me is


neither True …

nor Good …

nor even Useful …


why tell it to me or anyone at all?”


The man was bewildered and ashamed. This is an example of why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

As a leader and a colleague, how do you emulate the wisdom of Socrates?


Have a great day!!


Michelle  🙂

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