What Stories Have You Believed To Be True?


by Kevin Watson



And…what stories do you still believe to be true, and will later find out are an urban myth?

Often times, it’s difficult to tell what is true and what is a myth – particularly in this age of the internet and social media.

We read an article on a credible-looking website or notice a post from a thought leader on LinkedIn, and hardly question whether it’s true or not.

Indeed, we’ve been exposed to many stories throughout our lives that we took to be true, many taught by well-intentioned parents, teachers, trainers and managers, only to find that they had been taken out of context or had been a complete myth.

Here’s a story for you…

In my younger days, I was told that only 7% of our understanding comes from the words people use.

Of course, all these years later, it seems obvious that this can’t be true – or at least untrue in most situations.

However, when I was first exposed to this concept, it was delivered with such credibility that it made absolute sense. After all, it’s based on a study done in 1967 by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, a Professor of Psychology at UCLA

It also helped that I was ready to believe the story. I was in a workshop on presentation skills when first exposed to this story and had an emerging interest in body language.

I even helped perpetuate this myth for some time before learning that Mehrabian’s work had been taken out of context. The study was completely misinterpreted by the media and passed on as fact.

Some trainers still use this myth because it supports the view that movement and tone are critical to a presentation. Of course, presentations are definitely improved by appropriate hand movements, open body language, pauses to emphasise points.

But none of these is more important than the words themselves.

Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.Hilary Mantel

Call to Action

So, I’ve been wondering what other myths we’ve believed to be true over the years.

Take a moment and leave a comment about the stories you believed until finding out they were in part or wholly untrue.

Which of these has been useful to you for a while or have held you back in some way?

And, which ones were taken out of context, or simply untrue!

*Thanks to Creativity Works for inspiration for this post.


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About the Author

Kevin Watson

Kevin is a highly experienced Leadership Coach and acts as Consultant to several boards of global organisations, as well as local business owners. He is passionate about making a difference by enabling and encouraging leaders who want to create and sustain meaningful change in themselves and the organisation.



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