Brandon Dillon's Blog

A place for discussion on all areas of life.

Posts Tagged ‘Socrates’

Socrates & the Test of Three

Posted by Brandon Dillon on February 13, 2013

I was recently at a Life seminar and they were talking about Socrates and his test of three. Socrates was considered the greatest mind in his time and was even told that he was the smartest man in all of Greece. The reason for that is because he always asked questions instead of just telling everyone all the things he knew. With that little part alone how many of us could work on that? Do you know some one that is always ready to tell you everything or even if they are not called upon in circle of people they are the first to give a answer even when something is directed to another person?

They can seem very rude right? if you don’t know some one like this, it might be you! =) hopefully not =)

So this man approaches Socrates and says. Socrates I have something to tell you I just heard about one of your students. Socrates pauses for a moment then says to the gentlemen ok you may tell me but first let me ask you three questions about what it is you want to tell me. The man says ok.

First question, is what you want to tell me something good? The man thought for a minuet, no its actually not good. Ok Socrates says that’s fine lets try question two.

Is what you want to tell me the Truth? The man said no I am not sure if its true or not I just heard it. ok that’s fine Socrates says lets see about the last question.

Is what you want to tell me useful? No the man said I guess its not useful.

Socrates says so if I understand this right, you were about to tell me something that is not good, not true and not useful? Why tell me at all?

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

That story ends in some situations with the phrase. And that’s why Socrates never found out about Plato and his wife’s affair. But if you take that situation yes it may not have been good information but it was sure True, and useful to Socrates. But what this man wanted to tell Socrates was just Gossip, how many of you would be happen with a world with out gossip?

Then use this the next time your going to tell a story a information to a friend or someone at work about so and so. Even if what someone is doing may not be right unless you can correct it or at best warn someone about a potential issue they might fall in to because of that person don’t talk about it.

Dale Carnegie talks about this in his all time great best selling book how to Win friends and influence people. He starts off with 3 principles to always do the three as he calls them. Accept, Approve and appreciate. The reason he starts with everyone needs to accept approve and appreciate others for what ever small item they do is because most everyone is ignoring it and doing what he says next on a daily basis.

The next principle he follows with is a don’t do statement, because most people take this to be their job or personal hobby most times and that’s do not criticize, condemn or complain.

Think about when you heard more accepting, approving and appreciating of someone vs criticizing condemning or complaining? its very rare to find the three As used its almost always the three Cs that are in place in our world today, and it doesn’t get us very far at all.

The next time you hear someone start talking about someone or something ask your self these questions and also go out of your way to find something to accept and approve and appreciate of someone everyday, you will see some amazing things with that, and lets everyone stop criticizing, condemning and complaining. The world will be a much quieter place if we take Socrates principles and Dale Carnegies and use them and share them with others.

I highly recommend you read Dale Carnegies book How to win friends and influence people, its one I read several times a year to remind my self not to fall in to the gossip and rumor trap and to think of how I can accept, approve and appreciate someone that day.

Success is yours if your willing to work for it.



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Socrates & The Rule of Three

Posted by Brandon Dillon on February 14, 2012

I was listening to a new Life CD today, that Jerry and Polly Hartise did about Socrates and this story stood out and is a very powerful lesson and one I am going to apply in my life diligently.

Socrates was walking and a man comes up to him and says, Socrates do you know what I just  heard about one of your students?

Socrates says, before you tell me what it is you heard, lets see if it passes a little test, a test called the rule of three.

Rule of three the man replied? whats that?

Socrates says, well let me ask you, is what your about to tell me the truth?

The man says, well I don’t know,

Ok says Socrates, is what your about to tell me good?

No says the man.

Ok says Socrates, is what your about to tell me useful?

the man says no not really.

So let me get this right Socrates says, What your about to tell me your not sure even if its true, its not good, and not very useful, then why tell it to me?


I think that is powerful words of wisdom there, and I will think before telling anyone something about these three things. Something might be True, and it maybe bad and then still useful and that would be worth presenting to someone, but if it don’t pass the first one, being completely true, and not just true because so and so said it. but true because I did my own due diligence on the matter. If it doesn’t even pass the true aspect then it wouldn’t even make it to rule 2.

This rule I think that Socrates taught was designed to stop and prevent gossip, which is a very evil thing.

if you read Dale Carnegie’s book How to win friends and Influence people, his first 3 rules in there are Don’t Criticize, complain or Condemn. If you think about it  that is very close to what Socrates was trying to accomplish. If we thought about everything we were about to say and asked, is this a Criticism? Is this complaining? Is this Condemning of others? and if it was we were not to say it how much less gossip and negativity would we have in the world?

I hope this has been useful and thought provoking and as always please comment and share your thoughts and feedback

have a great day!

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