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Where Do You Find Truth?

Where Do You Find Truth?

    You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ~Middle Eastern Proverb

    You lie online. It might be a lie to sell something or a lie to make yourself feel better. You might lie to help somebody else or perhaps to make another feel worse. Perhaps you just exaggerate. You brag. That’s not lying, right? That’s just expanding something to be more than it should be. Surely there’s no harm in that?!

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    There probably wouldn’t be any harm if we didn’t live such nuanced lives.

    A required smile is just a glint away from a genuine grin. A really great product is only a few words away from a product that often fails to work. A cool link is a millisecond away from a link we’re sharing just because somebody shared a link of our own.

    It’s all nuance.

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    The truth that lies within you does not arise as some blazing scepter for the world to see. It peeks out in wisps and glimmers through the nuance of your everyday life. It flits about the stream of clicks and characters you produce as you move about and share online.

    Have you seen it? Can you point to a conversation and say, “Aha! There. That is my truth!” or are you forced to rifle through your words and excuse yourself for not lying overtly?

    My sister often makes a joke that, “Everybody runs faster online.” in reference to the ways people lie about things online. But if we allow the behavior of the masses to choose the way in which we share or muzzle our truth, what then? What happens to the community made up of people who only pretend to like each other? Is that a Tribe that will bring about real change in the world or will it end in a disappointing trail of tears?

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    I fear for any community that sets aside truth in the pursuit of short-term goals. I fear for any person who throws away their convictions in the name of fame and glory. Can we not build real communities that trust each other or have we been sucked into an echo chamber that insists community is about the number of people who sign up and has nothing to do with the number that shows up? Are we so jaded as a people that we shall always withhold good things from those who do not make an effort to lie to our faces with caramelized hyperbole?

    Will we continue to lie? Or will we take another look in the mirror and ask our tired reflection to show us a bit of truth?

    If we can find that truth and hold it tightly with unwavering palms, I believe we will find freedom. Not freedom from work, or pain, or tribulation. But freedom from the tiny guilts that gouge away at our joy.

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    When we can look at our conversations and say, “Yes, there is my truth.” I think we’ll discover more grins in our day and hands that reach out to catch us when we start to fall.

    Image: Giampolo Macarig

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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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