Is it true? Is it kind? Is it useful?

For the first time ever, I learned the same principle in THREE different contexts on the same day! And it was surprisingly relevant for the mood I have been in over the last couple of weeks. So I'm going to memorialize it here.  

In the morning, a friend shared a scene and a quote from the movie Bridge of Spies, where the character is oddly calm when he's on the verge of being sentenced to the death penalty.  

“You don’t seem alarmed.”
“Would it help?”

“Don’t you ever worry?”
“Would it help?”

“You’re not worried.”
Would it help?”

At noon, during lunch, my workplace hosted a fireside chat with Lori Gottlieb, author of "Maybe you should talk to someone." That was thrilling as I'd read and enjoyed the book just a few months back. She said the person we talk most to in our life is not our spouse, kids, nor is ourselves! We do a lot of self-talk in our heads, which significantly influences how we feel, act, and think. And unfortunately, we are usually not too kind to ourselves. Her advice is to filter all our thoughts through 3 questions - Is it true? Is it kind? Is it useful?. If they aren't, then dump them. 

And then finally, in the afternoon, at my workplace onboarding, we were discussing a principle of "being super transparent, but also be kind." Let's take this hypothetical situation - a colleague's been rude and annoying to everyone lately, and their manager asks you for feedback. You can lay it all out in the spirit of transparency, or you can simply tell them it has been difficult, but you will rather talk to the colleague first, which is the kind thing to do. Just transparency - saying anything we think to anyone - isn't a virtue. It needs to be kind, true, and useful too.