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Sometimes, Honesty Is Not The Best Policy

Sometimes, Honesty Is Not The Best Policy

Liar, liar pants on fire. No one wants to get caught in a lie and appear to be dishonest or deceptive. But does telling a lie actually make you either of those things?

The truth is, there are some advantages to lying; and they aren’t always for self-gain. Sometimes people choose to lie to protect others and spare their feelings. Because let’s face it, the truth hurts.

    Why do we even lie?

    We all need to take a moment to be honest with ourselves and admit that we all lie. It is in our innate nature to deceive and sometimes protect.

    Yes, we sometimes tell lies to cover up bad behavior, manipulate others, or rise to power and attain what we want.

    But we also lie to spare the feelings of others, avoid unnecessary conflict, or to simply brighten up someone’s day.

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    Dishonesty is in our nature.

    Researchers believe that the act of lying came into play after the development of language. It is the evolution of deceptive strategy, just as animals use camouflage to deceive their predators or prey.

    In terms of efficiency, lying is the easiest way to rise to power and attain resources. If your enemy is larger and stronger than you, then physical force will not be very effective. But if you are able to outwit and manipulate your enemy; not only can you acquire their resources, but make them believe that it was their idea own idea.

    How often do we lie?

    This of course is relative to the individual. The frequency of lying was first documented by social psychologist Bella DePaulo.

    She asked 147 individuals to record their blips of dishonesty throughout the day. On average, her subjects lied at least twice a day. The lies themselves were relatively harmless in nature; innocuous excuses for instances such as lateness. Or fibs that present a false image; saying that you ran 5 miles instead of the truthful 2.

    We’ve been fibbing since we learned to talk.

    In actuality, we are conditioned to lie at a young age. Didn’t your parents tell you to always thank your host for that “delicious” meal that you had to choke down? Social graces aside, it’s still a lie.

    Children typically learn to lie between the ages of 2-5. Kang Lee, a psychologist from the University of Toronto studied children between the ages of 2-8 to gauge the kind of lies that children tell.

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    When children first begin to lie at the age of 2, it is an indication that they are starting to test out their independence. They lie simply to see what they can get away with.

    By the age of 8, the children actually have the capacity of lying to spare the feelings of others. The results of the study actually found that these lies are motivated by empathy and compassion rather than deceit and manipulation.

      Lying is a reflection of our goals.

      Sometimes you don’t even need to open your mouth to tell a lie. A simple facial expression is enough to convey a mistruth.

      Embellishments, exaggerations, these are the close counterparts to outright lies. But in this case, these lies are almost never malicious. But in fact, a projection of one’s aspirations.

      In an experiment conducted by Robert Feldman, he questioned a number of students about their grades and efforts in school. Most of them were dishonest about their actual grades. But instead of becoming anxious as most people do amidst a lie, they became incredibly engaged and excited to boast about their achievements.

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      “We lie if honesty won’t work”- Tim Levine

      Is there a difference between moral and immoral lying? If we’re being honest with ourselves, the answer is a resounding yes. Some lies are well intentioned- meant to protect those who are being lied to.

      Lying has even been found to have psychological benefits for the liar. Those who are extremely honest with themselves are more prone to depression than those who are not. Overtly honest people are often construed as blunt, sometimes even pathological.

      There are even interpersonal benefits to be gained from lying and knowing when it is okay to do so. In fact, if someone detects that you have lied to them to protect them, it could increase the trust that they have in you.

      These well intentioned lies are known as pro-social lies.

      Lying for the better good.

      Pro-social lying involves four distinct constructs of human capacity: theory of mind, compassion, memory and imagination.

      In this case, our choice to lie is a result of moral and emotional reasoning. We prioritize kindness over the importance of truth to spare other persons involved. As our brains develop, our moral reasoning progresses at the same rate as self-control as well as cognitive ability.

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      Further still, the most selfless of lies is known as a blue lie. These lies tend to be altruistic falsities that are actually told at the cost of the liar to protect someone else. In this case, we might subject ourselves to punishment for the wrongdoing of others.

        Honestly, lying isn’t so bad.

        What determines the magnitude of the lie is the intent behind it. Lies that are told to protect others can actually help to strengthen relationships. Other lies that are told to embellish ones image are debatably harmless.

        It all boils down to one fact- we all have our reasons for the lies that we tell and the facts that we choose not to share. At the end of the day, what we don’t know won’t hurt us. Sometimes a tiny lie is necessary to ensure that all is well and all runs smoothly.

        Featured photo credit: Movies with Mae via google.com

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        Anna Chui

        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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        Last Updated on June 3, 2020

        19 Definitions Of Success You Should Never Ignore

        19 Definitions Of Success You Should Never Ignore

        What is success?

        Is it wealth? Is it happiness? Is it fame?

        The late Zig Ziglar was one of the most respected modern day experts on success, motivation, and leading a balanced life. In his book Born to Win!, he argues that success cannot be defined in one sentence, but instead it is comprised of many things. One could argue that the definition depends on the individual and that one size does not fit all[1].

        Here are 19 different definitions of success. Not all of these will resonate with you, but chances are at least a few of them will. Use these or find inspiration here to create your own definition of success that can be applied to your unique life.

        1. Success is always doing your best.

        Success can be achieved when you try your best in all aspects of everything you do, even if that doesn’t lead to big results. If you’ve done your best, you should feel proud of your efforts.

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        2. Success is properly setting concrete goals.

        Be realistic and concrete when setting goals. Success does not come from setting abstract goals. If you know where you’re heading, that is a success in itself, even if you don’t ultimately arrive to the planned destination.

        3. Success is having a place to call home.

        Home is where your heart soars. You are always successful when you can call a place home. Home doesn’t have to be a specific structure. It can be a country, a city, or even a person. If you have a place you feel comfortable and safe, you’re already achieving something great.

        4. Success is understanding the difference between need and want.

        If you can meet your monthly obligations and fulfill your basic needs, you are successful. Being able to identify when you absolutely need something and when you can do without it often leads to financial stability and is a great way to succeed.

        5. Success is believing you can.

        If you believe you can, you will succeed. Self-belief doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so if you’re able to tell yourself that you can achieve the goals in your plans, you’re doing great.

        6. Success is remembering to balance work with passion.

        Work without passion creates undue stress and empty achievements. Focus on what excites you. If you’re happy at your job, that’s great. However, even if you aren’t, you can balance your formal job with hobbies or volunteer work you’re passionate about.

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        7. Success is taking care of your needs.

        Remember to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Self-care is essential if you want to have any meaningful impact on the world around you.

        8. Success is learning that you sometimes have to say no.

        Success only comes with a balanced life. Part of balance is learning to say no. Saying no doesn’t mean you are selfish; it simply means you have priorities and know what you need to give your attention to at any given time.

        9. Success is knowing your life is filled with abundance.

        Love, health, friends, family…life is filled with abundance. Recognizing this is an important step to feeling grateful for all life has given you. If you can feel this, you are already experiencing success.

        10. Success is understanding you cannot keep what you don’t give away.

        You will only succeed if you help others succeed. Learning to give instead of always take is part of creating a world we all want to live in. When you help others, you will also create an environment where others want to help you.

        11. Success is overcoming fear.

        Conquering a fear makes you feel invincible. Even if it’s confronting just one small fear each week, that is certainly something to feel proud of. The bigger fears will take more time, but any work you do to overcome fear will lead to success.

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        12. Success is learning something new each day.

        Successful people understand that learning never stops. Take time each day to converse with someone with opposing views, read an interesting article on a topic you know little about, or watch a TED talk on new research. It doesn’t take long to learn, so get started now.

        13. Success is learning that losing a few battles can help you win a war.

        Successful people choose their battles wisely. When you know which battles will ultimately help you achieve your goals, you will be successful.

        14. Success is loving and being loved back.

        Opening your heart to others is difficult and can produce fear. Having the courage to love and accept love from others is a step toward a fulfilling life and great success.

        15. Success is standing your ground when you believe in something.

        Successful people never give up on things they believe with all their heart. You may hold views that many people disagree with, but if you’ve done your research and know that it’s the right belief for you, you shouldn’t let it go without a fight.

        16. Success is not giving up.

        Perseverance creates grit, and grit achieves success. Even if it takes years to achieve a goal, persisting is key if you want success.

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        17. Success is celebrating small victories.

        Anytime a goal is reached or an obstacle is overcome, take time to celebrate, even if it’s something small. All goals require smaller objectives to be achieved first, so each time you complete one, take time to appreciate the work you put into it.

        18. Success is never letting a disability hold you back.

        Disabilities do not define a person’s success. The body and mind will compensate. Just because you can’t do absolutely everything doesn’t mean you can’t do something. Do what your body and mind allow and always push yourself. That is true success.

        19. Success is understanding that you control your destiny.

        Your destiny is controlled by you and you alone. Take responsibility for your actions and their consequences and you’ll find that you naturally become more successful.

        The Bottom Line

        Success can be defined in many ways. If you are experiencing happiness, love, or adventure in this moment, you’ve already found success. Keep it up.

        More Tips on Success

        Featured photo credit: Dino Reichmuth via unsplash.com

        Reference

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