"Plant the seed of doubt and watch it grow." I heard this phrase from my dad repeatedly growing up. When a news story would air about a potential scandal or gossip would filter through the grapevine, he would make a point to tell me that a seed of doubt was planted.
It took years before I understood what he meant and how he used these situations to create teachable moments for my life.
What he was saying is the news we heard might or might not be true. Nevertheless, the perception was what mattered. Even if the person was found innocent of the scandal or the gossip turned out to be false, there was still a seed of doubt in the minds of people interested in the news. They would continue to think that it might be true, even if the facts stated otherwise. Perception was important.
Planting a seed will do nothing unless it is watered. Water in this situation takes the form of attention and fear. Focusing on the seed and what could happen is a waste of time. All it does is increase your perception that the seed is true.
The better alternative is to tear the seed out of your mind and protect your thoughts. You cannot let someone else dictate how you will feel. You are the person that is responsible for the culture you want in your life. By allowing others to control your thoughts, you are giving that power to them.
Doubt and fear will grow unless you are intentional about protecting your mind. They will hijack your thoughts and control your actions.
The lesson I learned from my dad was that you must protect your thoughts and mind at all times. We cannot allow other people to dictate your thoughts, beliefs, or assumptions.