The words of Anatole France, the Nobel Laureate in Literature for 1921, are as relevant today as they were in the 19th century. There are many universal truths, and I believe this quote qualifies as one. The legitimacy of a concept and/or the truthfulness of a statement are not qualified by the sheer number of people who espouse them. Truly. Just because you hear several people saying something does not make it a statement of fact. Knowing how to discern the difference between truth and opinion is a valuable life skill to learn … one that can actually help shape the future of your life as well as the lives of untold others who are affected by your actions, intentional or otherwise. Yes, I said your adeptness at critical thinking and the opinions and ideas you develop as a result ultimately touch the lives of others around you, whose actions and opinions in turn affect the lives of those in their circle, and on and on. So we each have a responsibility to consider and weigh the truthfulness and accuracy of what we say before we release it into the world. Words and ideas are powerful. So don’t be foolish, be thoughtful. Don’t be rash, be careful. Don’t be a follower, be a leader.