“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”
– William Shakespeare
Sometimes in life, it feels like honesty has become a bygone concept. Whether politics, business, or our personal lives, too often we are mislead and deceived. There’s a sense of being a victim that comes as a result, and too many people feel powerless to do anything else. A world of immediate, global communication has brought with it the rise of super corporations – the customer base required to sustain such organizations means that any individual person is little more than a grain of sand. Still, it’s the little people that pay the bills and “keep the lights on”.
But the topic isn’t corporate oppression.
In most of my entries, I attempt to begin by providing a definition of the term. Honesty, however, is a remarkably simple concept – most children know the difference between the truth and a lie by a very young age. Honesty is generally understood as telling the truth or providing a faithful account of events. Curiously, people in most societies around the world are taught to value telling the truth and refrain from falsifications and subversion. What’s peculiar, then, is that, as we age, we find more and more reasons to justify misconduct.
Experience has taught me that deception is usually found out. It’s entirely possible to mislead someone for a very long time, but it’s rare to take anything nefarious to the grave. Even when you might happen to succeed in fooling someone else for your gain, there is often a distrust which breeds over time. As I mentioned in my post on confidence, we as humans tend to be very risk-adverse; we always look to bet on a sure thing. If your encounters with a business partner, friend, or politician begin to leave you suspicious, it’s probably prudent to leave the relationship behind, and most people do.
Of course, if you have no interest nor concern for the lives of others, then it bears mentioning that lying is no easier on you than it is on those around you. There is a burden that comes with maintaining a lie. As the expression goes, “what a tangled web we weave when we first wish to deceive”. The more intricate the fraud becomes – as is inevitable with time – the more difficult by far it becomes to keep your story straight. Why bother with the mental clutter? If deception is a web, then find a broom and sweep it out! A driven person with a vision and a plan is busy enough; the last thing you need is something else to worry over.
Having said that, honesty can be costly. The danger of telling the truth is that people might just see you for who you are. Those around you may become aware of your inadequacies and failures. It’s this fear that is at the root of most dishonesty. We want to appear flawless amongst our peers, but we’re all human. The people who will make the best business partners and friends, however, won’t be caught up in trivialities. More so, they’ll appreciate your transparency and integrity.
Thank you for your time.