"Things are not always what they seem." Phaedrus.
Appearances and realities. Don’t you wish you could easily tell them apart? Plato diagnosed our condition long ago. He believed that most people live lives of illusion, imprisoned by appearances, unable to break through to the underlying realities of life. How does anyone break free and grasp bedrock truth? With philosophy. By using the wisdom of others as well as your own powers of discernment.
First of all question. Then, secondly, question some more. Anticipate motives. Ponder spin. Peel back the first layers of what presents itself. Dodge the deceptive surfaces that come your way. What’s at issue, really? And whose interests are at stake? Don’t always trust your senses or even initial judgments. Be a detective. Interrogate appearances. Dig deeper. And then be prepared to trust your heart, after the probing you most often need to do.
A really good book on asking questions to peel back appearances is Water Berger's recent effort, A More Beautiful Question. Another one for business people is Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan's short book Execution.
The stoics often said that almost nothing is as good as it seems or as bad as it seems, so we all need to calm down. Use this advice. And help others to benefit from it.