Socrates was a true master of communication. When I read the following story of Socrates and the three seven a few days ago in a great book by Ulrike Dahl, it was clear to me; this is just right for you.

Socrates once walked the streets of Athens. Suddenly a man comes towards him excitedly. “Socrates, I have to tell you something about your friend who…”

“Wait a minute,” Socrates interrupts him. “Before you continue, have you sifted the story you want to tell me through the three sieves?”

“The three sieves? “Which three sieves?” asks the man in surprise.

“Let’s try it,” Socrates suggests. “The first sieve is the sieve of truth. Are you sure what you’re trying to tell me is true?”

“No, I heard someone tell it.”

“Aha. But then surely it went through the second sieve, the sieve of good? Is there something good you want to say about my friend?”

The man answers hesitantly: “No, not that. On the contrary.”

“Hmm…” says Socrates, “now all we have left is the third sieve. Is it necessary for you to tell me what’s making you so upset?”

“No, not really necessary,” the man replies.

“Well,” says Socrates, smiling, “if the story you want to tell me isn’t true, isn’t good, and isn’t necessary, then you’d better forget it and don’t burden me with it!”

I agree that Socrates is absolutely right on all three sevens or points. What about you?

Take the story and the idea behind it with you into the coming week and into the rest of your life.