4 Ways to Be More Honest

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What would look like if we all had a nose like Pinocchio?  How many growing noses do you think you would see at work?  How about at a tailgate for a football game?  At a bar? He he he. 

How about your nose?  Did you REALLY read all the terms and conditions?  Are you ‘fine’?  Was the fish you caught last fall really “THIS BIG”?

It turns out that most of us lie…daily.  

When I rank my top values, Honesty is #4.  My friend Carla will ask me ‘what time did you arrive?” and then chuckle when I reply “8:17AM!”  In my mind, if I answer 8:16 or 8:18, it is a lie.  I waste SO MUCH TIME, arguing with myself, making sure I am being 100% truthful. And, I have NEVER read all the terms and conditions.

In the story of Diogenes, a Greek Philosopher, he spent much of his life, unsuccessfully, looking for an honest man. He believed, as Socrates did, everyone is trapped in a make-believe world and living in a kind of dream state.  Now Diogenes was also SO honest he was disgusting to be around. 

Looks like we have ourselves a conundrum. How honest should we be? 

Here are three reasons why I believe the payoff of honesty – being authentic, candid, truthful – far outweighs the downsides. 

  1. The 9th Commandment is “Thou shall not lie” for a reason! Being dishonest can cause harm to ourselves and to our society. A lie can be haunting, it can suck the life out of our soul, and result in some very bad endings. After all, Hitler is attributed as saying “By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell – and hell heaven.  The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed“.  
  1. Choosing honesty can help us to find the best solution. Voicing the truth enables us to identify the problem and work as a team to be better.  We grow SO MUCH FASTER when we are honest with ourselves. 
  1. Honesty is a huge piece of finding true joy and happiness as an individual, family, team, organization, community and, yes, happiness as a country.

SO, what if decide to do our best to be 5% more honest this year than we were last year in situations in which it will make a lasting difference. How about 10%? Even if it is scary and outside of our comfort zone – which is where positive growth happens.

Here are four actions we can take to be more honest and authentic. I will elaborate on each action over the next few weeks.

  1. Judge less and talk more.
  2. Trust yourself and your abilities.
  3. Let go of shame and re-discover your true self.
  4. Build your confidence by being more vulnerable.

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