Monday, December 06, 2010

How Important Is the Source?

There's a mantra that I often hear:
Consider the source.

Surely you've heard this...right?

Normally, it comes up as a justification for NOT listening to advice, criticism, etc due to discrediting the person who said it. But there's a sneakier side to this little mindset...

If you've ever worked as part of a team, I bet you've found yourself in one of these situations. Either you (or someone else) gives some advice, a solution to a problem, a suggestion, etc and it's shot down. No big deal. However, you then hear the exact same advice, solution, suggestion or what not delivered from somebody else...and now suddenly it carries some weight.

What in the world?!?!

There's a part of your brain that wonders if you're taking crazy pills. You know that someone essentially just echoed you...but the identical suggestion you put out there was rejected, while this one was embraced.

But I wonder, should you always consider the source? Assume the same thing is said from different people, from one source it is rejected/discounted...and from another it is embraced & implemented.

Obviously the weight of someone's words are weighed based upon their experience, education, respect, trust, etc. But does the truth of what someone is saying actually change due to these elements? Or does it stand on its own...sometimes?

I came across this quote from famed British author, and student of H.G. Wells, A.A. Milne:
Good judgment comes from experience, and experience--well, that comes from poor judgement.

Smart saying that you identify with, right? Does it lose something if instead of attributing it to A.A. Milne, it's given to one of his characters...Winnie the Pooh?

Kinda changes a little...doesn't it?

What do you think, is there something to considering the source? Or does wisdom stand on its own?