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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Triple Filter Test

In ancient Greece, 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, but it also explains why Socrates was the last to know that Diogenes ran off with his wife. While I admit there is some ironic humor in Socrates’ unfortunate martial problems, we should look at his triple filter test as it applies to the growth of our economy.

It seems like anytime you step out of your comfort zone to build something new, there will be people against what you are doing. These people seem determined on doing their best to derail whatever progress and/or success you’ve achieved (or strive to achieve). As we continue to build Tama County’s economy, there are going to be times where we find ourselves on the receiving end of the negative rumors and actions. We need to use Socrates’ three question filter: 1) The filter of TRUTH. Have you made absolutely sure that what they’re telling you is TRUE? 2) The filter of GOODNESS. Is what they are saying to you something GOOD? 3) The filter of USEFULNESS. Is what they are telling you going to be USEFUL to you? Everyone has enough of his or her own roadblocks in starting something new without allowing someone else the power to derail them.

Mark your calendar for May 28th at 6pm for our next PITCH & BUILD COMPETITION. It is energizing to hear new ideas from people about their desire to see a brighter, stronger economic future in Tama County.


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