Questioning ‘FACTS’

Evan Dennis

Photograph by Evan Dennis (Via Unsplash)

I’ve got a confession to make, everything I say to you is my opinion. It might be shocking to know that actually everything I have ever written on here, everything I have ever said in person, is just my opinion ruffled with some carefully chosen words to make it seem more fact led.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, when I write posts aptly named and with step by step guides those opinions and views often just come from my own experiences, or from a handful of friends and peers. It is NOT a universal recognised view-point & if you follow those steps there is no guarantee that you will end up in the same position.

Today I’m wanting to give you room, though and reason to really consider and question ‘facts’ given.

I’m giving you an open card to disagree & argue with me.

When I first started out in work I would sit in meetings and take other people’s points and views head on as facts. If someone declared that x was the answer, I would naively accept that without any type of questioning (even if I did have questions & different views). I thought that because someone was my superior, has years of experience and is viewed as an expert, that what they say must be true.

And obviously in certain areas this is right. doctors, engineers, mechanics, scientists, teachers etc these people have a wealth of knowledge and understanding, have studied subjects that are filled deep with facts and statistics. So when they tell you something it is often true.

But when we enter some other industries, the same principles aren’t in place. Because those industries are not built on needing defined data. When someone backs information with statistics that’s fantastic, it then becomes more than just someone’s opinion that comes for them experiencing something one time & their friends having also been through that same situation.

But lets not take that as a complete fact.

I was reading a consumer study that was defining ‘Millennial Consumer’ and what they are interested in, plus the value they can bring to a business.

They made sweeping statements about this group of people, without defining the age range they class Millennial – some people say 18-32 others say 18-28 – and without clarifying who these people are, M or F? Their ethnicity, location?

Which is is bad enough BUT just guess how many people this study was based on?

How many interviews do you think you need to make a statement about US Millennial’s, where the population is over 300,000,000?

1,500 

They created a study that defined millennial by only looking at a tiny % of people who are classed in this area. Topping it off we have no information on if they work, their level of income, their background, upbringing!

And it is important to establish that because  you could have 2 people, both aged 25, both living in London, but one person comes from a working class family and is in a job earning minimum wage. The other went to private school, works part-time & has financial support coming in from their family. They are not going to be interested in the same things, their view points, opinions are going to differ & that is why lumping them in the same generalised statement is unfair.

It might be based from statistics BUT sometimes you’ve got to question what that really means.

Don’t take facts at face value!

imadamnstudent1

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  • @racj25

    Some really interesting points made here, and i like the way in which you talked about when you was in meetings and accepted what you were told. I think everyone has felt like that when they first start in a new job. Its important to challenge something when you know there are other solutions or ways it can be done. But it definitely worth making sure you have established yourself in the business first, before you go around trying to change everything. An honest and open working environment helps a lot. Great post!

  • Thanks Ryan 🙂 And I agree with you completely, you do need to have a level of both experience and understanding to start challenging and changing things. I think I was trying to point out that too often (especially at entry level positions) it is easy to confuse facts & opinions if they come from an establish source. Be that a person or report!