A few weeks ago, in the wake of the U.S. SEAL team's successful mission to capture/execute Osama Bin Laden, this was one of the most retweeted and facebooked quotes on the web.
Turns out, he only said part of it - the first sentence is not his. (For a great story going into how this happened - click here.)
Powerful stuff. Also not true.
It's not true, either.
It's easy to use stories and quotes from others. It saves us time, makes us look researched, and often makes our point stick with the audience.
In today's copy and paste world, our borrowed thoughts may suffer from a worldwide game of telephone, leaving what comes out the other side warped, incomplete, or downright wrong.
It is our responsibility as speakers to validate and attribute our borrowed material - our responsibility to our audiences and ourselves. While its not always possible to trace a quote to its original source (many quotes have been attributed to multiple people over the years), we still need to find a way to verify that the person we say said it actually did.
When we simply take quotes and stories at face value, we risk a loss in credibility and risk providing our audience with misguided principles. Just because a lot of people believe something to be true, doesn't make it so. Even if, as Brian Tracy said about the Yale Goals study, "it should be."