The truth is always in the middle

Category: [On Life]


2min read

A former boss of mine once told me “the truth is always in the middle”. He meant that as a rule of thumb to life’s many problems, if not all. Whenever there are two or more competing options to choose from, the best one is likely the one in the middle - the middleground, so to speak. This middleground balances the pros and the cons of the various options, advantageous in some way and sacrificing in some other way.

I have used his rule of thumb as a heuristic, or a mental shortcut, ever since. It makes sense to me. The reason why it makes sense is because of incomplete information - to be precise, it’s because of the incomplete information available to different people in a given problem.

You may be familiar with the story of the three blind men and an elephant. Three blind men were asked to name the object that they are touching. The first blind man touches the elephant’s trunk, and says that the object is a snake. The second blind man touches the elephant’s leg, and says that the object is a tree trunk. The third blind man touches the elephant’s side, and says that the object is a wall. The three blind men have access to different sets of incomplete information, and make conclusions based on what they know. The truth, however, lies somewhere in the middle of a snake, a tree trunk, and a wall.

We all have different perspectives when facing the same problem - some of us may be more different than others. Despite the differences, one thing is for sure - all of us likely have incomplete information to work with, even if we think that we already have all the important information. We may not know what we don’t know.

So don’t be too quick to judge the next time you have to make a decision. Between competing options, the truth is always in the middle.