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A Closer Look at Dishonesty

A Closer Look at Dishonesty
    What they don't know...

    So, what are your thoughts on honesty?

    Do you fib? Often? Do you have honesty rules? If so, where did those rules come from?

    Experience? Parents? Church? Your inner voice?

    Do you think that sometimes dishonesty is the right thing? The best option in some situations? Could there be a time when dishonesty is the best policy?

    Oh, the questions…

    We all know that honesty can be painful — and unpopular. It can also be liberating — and rewarding. We know it will end some relationships — and repair others. Sometimes, it shuts doors — and sometimes, it opens them.

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    Some people want to hear the truth. Some don’t.

    Some say they do…but really they don’t.

    Lying About Lying

    Like it or not, want it or not, lying is an ever-present reality of the world we live in.

    Kids do it — and so do grown-ups. Governments do it to protect you and me. Apparently.

    (Or maybe they do it to protect themselves.)

    Who else does it?

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    • Businesses
    • Wives
    • Husbands
    • Bosses
    • Staff
    • Managers
    • Leaders

    Even those who stand in front of their congregations on the weekend do it.

    Not surprisingly, we usually lie about our lying too. And when we do get busted, we inform the Honesty Police that our moral misdemeanor was in fact a ‘white lie’; a well-meaning deception. And, as we all know, white lies are okay.

    Degrees of Honesty

    Some people talk about the notion of ‘complete’ honesty, but is there any other kind? Surely, if it’s not complete honesty, then it’s dishonesty…right?

    “If it ain’t true, then it’s a lie.” Isn’t it? There’s no such thing as ‘telling a bit of a lie’ is there? A ‘half-truth’ (a term we use often) is simply a euphemism for dishonesty, isn’t it? And I guess ‘bending the truth’ sounds more honorable than ‘lying my arse off’. And finally, let’s not forget the very manly art of exaggeration; one of the more socially acceptable forms of lying.

    Wow, it’s hard to be honest about our dishonesty isn’t it?

    After all, nobody wants to wear the ‘liar’ label. We tend to get a little self-righteous and defensive when it comes to our ‘bending of the truth’ don’t we? Someone recently said to me, “Oh, yes Craig — but there’s lying and there’s lying.” The implication being that there’s acceptable and unacceptable lying.

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    Interesting.

    Selfless and selfish lying, perhaps? Okay, who decides which is which?

    The same person told me that she only lies when “she has to” and that “sometimes lying is the kind thing to do”. Can’t say that I totally disagree with her.

    So many great questions. But are there any universal answers?

    Am Not! You Are!

    When questioned, most of us say we’re honest people. It’s what we do. It’s our default setting.

    But it’s not true; most of us lie regularly.

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    Of course, we might lie for ‘noble’ reasons. Like to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Or to avoid sharing some personal information. Or to avoid a pointless argument or a potentially volatile situation. But surely that kind of dishonesty is okay.

    Wouldn’t honesty be an illogical choice in some situations? Which would make the occasional fib totally acceptable when there’s a good reason. Wouldn’t it? Having said that, who decides what a ‘good’ reason is?

    Hmm…more questions.

    One study revealed that the average person lies three times in a typical ten minute conversation. Notice I didn’t say “the average pathological liar lies three times”. No…I said “the average person”. Clearly, you and I are not average.

    I lie much more.

    So, what are your thoughts on honesty? Come on…be honest.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Crossing Fingers via Shutterstock)

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    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on August 4, 2020

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    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.

    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.

    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.

    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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    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.

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    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,

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    “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,

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    “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.

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    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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