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4 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Honest

4 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Honest

It has been said that honesty is the best policy, but why is that? Since we’re constantly bombarded by lies and misdirection from people we’re supposed to look up to, why is it important for us to avoid lying in turn? Let’s take a look at a few reasons why being honest is preferable to lying, any day of the week.

It’s Easier Than Lying.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” — Sir Walter Scott

Have you ever told a lie and then forgotten the details about it? Sure, you may have been able to ad lib and thus save your butt for the time being, but lies tend to spiral outwards and have to be maintained with an even larger web of lies. These are incredibly tiring to maintain, and unless you want to carry a notebook with you in which you’ve written down the different fibs associated with the original lie, you’ll have a hard time keeping track of it all.

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If you stick with the truth, it doesn’t matter how often you’re asked about the subject—you’ll always respond the same way, because you’re being honest about what really happened.

You Will Be Found Out.

Regardless of how airtight you think your lie is, someone will find out about it eventually.

If your kid’s hamster dies and you say that it ran away, and ten years later they accidentally dig up the rodent’s skeleton in the backyard, they’ll realize that you lied to their face and they’ll be really upset. If you call in sick to work so you can go to a convention or somesuch, your boss will inevitably see pictures of you floating around in full Klingon regalia, and then you’ll have to face the consequences of your actions.

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Trust in the fact that the truth always finds a way to rise to the surface, so just own up.

The Worst Truth is Better Than the Best Lie.

No matter how badly you think someone will react when you tell them something, you can rest assured that they will be a thousand times more upset if (or rather, when) they find out that you’d lied to them. Not only that, but sometimes the lie can cause much more dismay than honesty, like telling kids that their grandmother “went to sleep” instead of letting them know that she had died. If they’re young, they’ll end up terrified of going to bed for fear that they’ll never wake up again, and if they’re older, they’ll be furious with you for being patronising towards them.

Some couples stay together for years after they no longer have feelings for one another because neither party had the guts to be honest about the situation, when they could have spent decades being happier either alone or with someone new instead. One man I know discovered, upon his father’s death at age 90, that the poor man had spent his entire life in a loveless marriage because he never had the courage to tell his wife that he was gay. Had he been honest to both himself and to his wife, she could have been with someone who actually loved and cared for her, and he could have lived his life in a way that made him happy as well.

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Once Trust is Broken, It Can Never Be Fully Regained.

Although the words “I’m sorry” can ameliorate certain ugly situations, they can’t heal rifts or set things back to how they were before everything went to hell. If someone finds out that you’ve lied to them, they will never be able to fully trust you again. Ever. Even if you spend the rest of your life being a complete paragon of honesty and integrity, the person you lied to will always wonder if you’re being dishonest on some level. You can be sincere to your very marrow, but they won’t ever have true faith in you again.

Can you live with that?

There’s no such thing as a little white lie, and the fib that you tell another will inevitably come back around to bite you in the ass.

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“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Hamlet Act 1, scene 3 — William Shakespeare

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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