Right News ‘You see what we want to see, and you hear what you want to hear.’ (Harry Nillson)

Written by Nick Wright & Tara Parker


Right News -Fake news makes news

We live in an era when news about fake news makes news. What happened to the Right News?

We’re never had so much access to news and, perhaps, so little confidence in the news – Right News. Capturing and expressing profoundly the spirit of the age, actor Denzel Washington remarked: ‘If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed; if you do read it, you’re misinformed.’ (2016). Therein lies a deep and disturbing dilemma. A need to know what’s real, but how to know what’s true? At times like this, democracy itself feels threatened.

Social defenses against anxiety

And it gets worse. Social defenses against anxiety are being played out politically on our university campuses and beyond. Post-political correctness, no-platforming, and cancel culture have become rife.

We’re only allowed to think, let alone to speak, the mainstream narrative – mainstream being whatever ideological stance most successfully brands itself as progressive.

It’s irony on steroids, silencing all dissent in the name of freedom from harm, whilst ignoring its own damaging effects.

Should we be surprised? that we do not get The Right News

As human beings, we’re masters of self-deception. Like echo chambers in social media, we notice, seek, and affirm opinions and information that confirm our existing bias and ignore or dismiss whatever contradicts it.

It’s a self-gratifying tendency that provides a sense of safety and security: ‘I must be right because everyone and everything I see and hear agrees I’m right.’

Yet it’s dangerous censorship; a padlocked, subconscious delusion that hides well.

The difference

People, groups, and cultures choose and create narratives selectively.

A client is in conflict with a colleague and wants to justify her stance, portray herself in the best light. She focuses exclusively on the negative attributes and behaviors of the other vs the merits of her own, convinces herself it’s the total reality and surrounds herself with people who reinforce that view.

Sustain a convenient lie and the lie becomes as-if truth for us.

We no longer know the difference. Deception complete. What is the Right News?

Expose ourselves to diverse people

So, how to address this as coaches? What’s our role in bringing ‘truth’ to light?

1. Beware of our own narratives and risks of self-deception. Pray, be curious, be critically reflexive and invite critique.

2. Expose ourselves to diverse people, cultures, and contexts with eyes and ears wide open, to listen and learn.

3. Invite our clients to engage in curiosity and critical reflexivity too; contracting vis a vis (a) positive risk and (b) experimentation with safe emergencies, that such an approach will entail.


Right News – Right and a wrong

As children in school, we are taught there is a right and a wrong. Grades are assigned based on the variance between the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answers. Exposure to this concept from an early age creates the breeding ground for notions of rightness and wrongness. Since being considered wrong earns a poor score, everyone strives to be right. We are encouraged, if not seduced, into believing there is only one way to be and, if you are not that way, you risk being judged of low value.

Marching along with other social soldiers

This early influence creates the ideal conditions for groupthink and deception. After years of conditioning, it’s natural to fall in step, marching along with other social soldiers to feel a sense of belonging. Marching to the beat of the communal drum means not having thttps://www.coachingandlife.com/in-what-we-trust-how-important-our-inner-guidance-is/o think for oneself but rather just to do like the others. There is no mindfulness or critical thought process needed, just routine. The steps can be taken with eyes shut tight – yes, shut, not open as they should be.

How to conform and be “right”

You see, as human beings, we have an inherent personal desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves but we struggle with self-concept. We are taught early on to conform and be “right” applying this fallacy throughout our lives while dodging our inner voice. Rather than looking inward for our answers, we seek approval from the group to imitate a cultural norm, as conditioned. We master the skill of hiding characteristics that don’t fit and deny ourselves our personal worth. It’s the art of deception.

A cost we discover is that standing out too far from the rest is not an option. It can be frowned-upon to share personal thoughts and feelings if they don’t match those of the wider group. We are told to be accepting, tolerant and diverse, yet many groups really demand unspoken conformity, masked as unity. Real unity does not mean that we all assimilate sharing the same narrative. It means we think for ourselves and exchange different ideas as we strive for the same goal.

Why coaching is to powerful.

Coaching is energy fuelled by the unique individuality that each person offers. In contrast to hiding behind rules and social conformity, it enables a person to tap into their gifts and talents and, from that place, to engage positively with others who are, too, unique individuals. This collaboration allows their respective strengths to emerge and shine.

So, challenge the client and squeeze their comfort zone a bit! Build confidence in their own abilities and inspire them with purpose.

Nick Wright is a psychological coach, trainer, and organization development (OD) consultant (www.nick-wright.com). Tara Parker is a writer, performance coach, and personal adviser (www.elegantdiscourse.net).

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