Are You Sure You’ve Got It Right?

A careful and informed approach to passing judgment in the age of awareness and misguided certainty.

The world today seems to be populated with an overabundance of people who are passionately certain that THEY are correct. Not merely articulating personal opinions but voicing declarations of a singular truth about the topic de jure.

To entertain the idea of more than one viable option sounds crazy to them. The concept of practicing tolerance and compromise while keeping an open mind, are concepts often considered secondary approaches to handling daily dilemmas.

How can people be so sure?

Is this intense conviction of ideals fueled by knowledge?


A sense of entitlement?

The influence of others or some dangerous combination of all of these forces?

I am not certain.

Each day we are bombarded by information delivered by people who may or may not be qualified to validate the accuracy of this information. Some of these people are truthful experts. Some are agents of misinformation guided by their own selfish agendas.

The internet is full of data derived from unknown sources that many people hastily believe without question. I’m not sure what is truly real, mostly real or completely fictional.

I am not certain.

At social gatherings, I try to listen more than speak for fear of stepping on the opinions of others. The quickness with which people turn to anger makes me concerned for a potential aggressive reaction if my opinion were in contrast to that of others.

I feel the need to constantly walk on eggshells to avoid the wrath of the easily offended masses who show little remorse for lashing out in ugly and sometimes violent ways.

I have composed many social media posts only to delete them before transmission into the world. I do not wish to read society’s negative and hate-filled comments aimed directly at me.

I worry that one day I will offend someone with my pondering on Medium. Maybe I should develop thicker skin. Maybe I should become more hardened to deflect the sharp words others may throw in my direction.

I am not certain.

Some will advise that we should not be judgmental. I find this idea to be troublesome and unrealistically oversimplified. Judgments are part of the decision-making process. To not be judgmental would equate to never reaching a verdict.

A better approach is to exercise care, learn the circumstances of a situation and look outside of yourself for potential answers before making a judgement call. In the heat of the moment, this is a difficult approach to apply. It might even be impossible to achieve.

I am not certain.

Being intensely certain of a singular point of view leaves no room for examining other perspectives. Being understanding of other beliefs is fundamentally necessary to finding the middle ground for which to develop a compromise that can lead to personal growth and peaceful coexistence.

Problem-solving should involve an unbiased, or at least honest, review of the facts, civilized debate of viable alternatives, and a compromise beneficial to as many as possible. Blatant disregard for the ideas of others and one-sided solutions to problems are rarely the best option for society.

A common-sense philosophy that is not always so common.

Anger, distrust, and selfishness can block the path to tolerance and compromise. Whether face to face or on a social media platform, conversations should be respectful of new ideas and different perspectives. Will society ever be able to attain such a level of maturity?

I am not certain.

I am fearful of where the world is heading if we don’t slow down, take a moment to confirm the validity of the information we are allowing to enter our minds and reflect on the best solution for society.

Of this, I am MOST certain.


Tammy Hader
Tammy Hader
Tammy Hader has no writer’s pedigree. With a BBA in accounting from Wichita State University, numbers are her history. The CPA exam was passed, because that’s what accountants are supposed to do, and thirty years later her accounting life ended with the desire to journey down a different career path. The compass turned toward words to create a new legacy beyond spreadsheets. Her nostalgic writing reflects on the past to explain the present and shine into the future the light of lessons learned. Growing up in a small Midwestern town, influenced by relationships, choices, consequences, and situations, her life is not unique. In her stories, you will recognize reflections of your own past, understand how you arrived at today’s version of you and gaze with her across the bridge into the future.

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  1. Tammy —
    Your story reminded me of the attached article, which profiles Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Representative to Congress. He is bucked his party, the GOP, by coming out in favor of impeachment. Family members have disowned him, and his party will probably try to run someone against him. He doesn’t care. He had to tell his truth.
    His new adversaries are a perfect example of what you said: “Being intensely certain of a singular point of view leaves no room for examining other perspectives.” If you are a Republican, I guess, you have to toe the Republican party line. Party over country.

    “Will society ever be able to attain such a level of maturity?” Not in the near term, if individuals are unwilling to even listen to alternate points of view. A sad truth.

    • I admire Mr. Kinzinger for his courageous character. The strength of integrity is on short supply these days. It is a sad truth that a higher level of maturity is so far out of reach. I hope doing the right thing and setting a good example for others to follow is enough to make a difference, but I fear this is no longer so.

    • Maybe the real question you’re getting at is will it make a difference to the hold-out, the courageous one, the one who shows a higher level of maturity. Sometimes all that matters is that we’re able to look at ourselves in the mirror.

  2. Dear Tammy,
    A splendid view of the reality we all face and experience.
    Cooperation and positive compromise is ideal, however, there will be times when compromise is seriously challenged; extreme political postures (when I say extreme, I mean Communist ad ultra-right wing).

    In Winchester, when the two main political parties sit down together, each with opposing views on an issue, it is some times possible for both sides to present genuinely viable solutions. When the parties do agree on an issue, everyone works together to deliver that solution. Such cooperation is so welcomed by residents.

    Where problems further afield raise their heads it is more challenging to verify the truth. It also depends on who is likely to believe them. Following 9/11 there were the most horrific lies being spread around. Most of us mourned, some celebrated.

    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom Tammy.