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Check Your Sources

“To find a new word that is accurate and different, you have to be alert for it.” – Mary Oliver

Check your sources is a fundamental tenet of journalism. The Society of Professional Journalists has defined four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism:

  1. Seek truth and report it;
  2. Minimize harm;
  3. Act independently;
  4. Be accountable and transparent.

No worries – this will not be a dissertation on politics, the “free” press or the first amendment – although those certainly all weigh on my mind as a citizen.

However, the media does have an impact on your outlook so before you believe Facebook or your way left or way right friends or family members, check your sources to verify the facts and understand the complexity of issues on your own.

These are also good principles to follow as you write the narrative of your own life.

  1. Seeking truth takes inquiry and investigation. Let go of assumptions and ask one more question to get the complete picture, all sides. Seek understanding, offer compassion.
  2. Minimize harm to others and yourself by being mindful and in control of your attitude, words and actions. Go beyond not harming to offering radical joy, love and acceptance. Be a light.
  3. Be your own person and stop following the crowd. Independence is freedom. Write your own story and stop surrendering the pen to other people, circumstances, offense from the past or fear of the future. This is your life, own it.
  4. Accountable and transparent – you are accountable for yourself so stop trying to fix others. Self-awareness is a one-person job so work on yourself and let others come unto their own if and when they are ready, if ever. Transparency is honesty. Be open and let go of the drama, conspiracy theories and plot twists. Fear is an old story, choose fierce.

Life is short so savor, seek and find joy daily. Perhaps Mary Oliver asks the most important question that you can ask yourself daily, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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