We live in uncertain times. Times where the meaning of truth and fact are unbelievably up for debate. Times where everything someone says is true, as long as they think it is. For a myriad of reasons this is somewhat frightening, but chief among them is that the value placed on truth is diminishing.
Honesty and truth are (arguably) what humans have built society on. It’s how we’ve come to build civilizations. It’s why we are capable of building strong relationships with people. It’s why we become respected, contributing members of our environment. With that basic idea being attacked, by more than one entity, mind you, I thought it would be appropriate to touch on why, just like we were taught as children, honesty really is the best policy.
BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS
Ever try to build a relationship on lies? It may work for a little while, but eventually, even if it’s 20 years down the line, it’ll come crashing down. I’m not necessarily talking about “innocuous” white lies like telling mom that her new soufflé recipe is delicious (which it is, obviously 😳), I’m talking about the lies that are used to fundamentally misinform or deceive the other person. The lies that are used simply to cover your own ass.
I know it’s hard to take responsibility, but if your roommate is upset about how the pans you use for your eggs can no longer be described as “non-stick”, and you know it has something to do with you using a metal fork to make said eggs, grow up and take responsibility. It’s embarrassing, it’s upsetting, and it could incite some level of anger in the other person, but at least you’ll be able to have a conversation about it. Lying about the facts of something even as innocuous as that will only breed resentment and a proliferation of passive aggressive warfare, which, anyone has experienced that before can tell you, is maybe the worst form of aggression.
IT’LL BE UNCOMFORTABLE, THAT’S OK
It may feel weird to admit to doing something as dumb as being lazy and using a fork to make your eggs in the morning, but at the very least, your roommate won’t question your integrity.
All of life is dependent on the relationships you build - it’s true for your job, your romantic life, your friendships, everything. Building a stronger relationship in all areas, through honesty, will only serve to benefit you down the road. If you make a mistake at work, don’t hind behind some excuse, take responsibility. In all likelihood, the people you’re working with will take positive note of your trustworthiness and they’ll see you as a positive member of the team. Hide behind a lie and your time there may be limited.
PLAY THE LONG GAME
Think about the negatives of not being truthful (and being found out) for a second: your reputation, or whatever is left of it, is tarnished, you’re branded as an untrustworthy person, and whatever relationship that is being affected may very well be over. Like Warren Buffet said, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.”
I know telling the truth isn’t always easy, and at times it may be immediately detrimental to you – no one wants to spend any amount time in the doghouse – but the key is to think long term. Is it hard to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Yes, especially if it’s embarrassing, or damning. But it’ll be a helluva a lot better for you down the road than building up a lie only to have it eventually take you down. And make no mistake, it’ll eventually take you down.
I guess my middle school principal was right when he told me the trouble I would get into by telling him the truth about who threw a lunchbox at someone would pale in comparison to the trouble I’d be in if I lied and he found out.
Face the music when necessary and do what’s best for you, not what’s best for you right now.
Until next time – it’s the honest truth.