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A Lesson in Lying Less

A Lesson in Lying Less

Lying is regarded as a negative aspect of life, and yet very few people actively seek to stop their lying habits. Scott from Life Long Learner has avoided lying for four months. Here are the lessons that he has learnt that he hopes you can learn from:

Four months ago I committed to completely cutting lying out of my life.

The positive results from this change have been shocking and hopefully serve as a potent motivator to consider doing the same in your own life.

In the process of striving for 100% honesty at all times, I’ve realized that:

a) I used to tell told lots of baby lies.

b) Lying is one of the most crippling things to your personal growth.

Below I want to explain how lying, even in the most minuscule forms, is hindering you from becoming the most virtuous, courageous, happy member of society that you can be…

But first, have you ever heard someone say this?

“Honesty Is Very Important to Me”

If you asked most people whether they’re honest, I bet 99% of people out would respond absolutely. Yet many of these people constantly tell little lies because it’s more convenient than telling the truth.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

Maybe a co-worker asks whether you saw their email…

Even though you saw it, you reply “not yet” because you don’t feel like dealing with their questions right now. Or your girlfriend asks why you didn’t text her back… Instead of saying you didn’t because you found her behavior annoying, you tell her you fell asleep to avoid confrontation. Just the other day my mom asked me if I went to the doctor’s office because I was sick…

I hadn’t yet. I could say no and deal with the inevitable coaxing, or say yes and avoid it all together. Before this change, I probably would have said yes. For whatever reason, many people don’t consider altering the truth in seemingly inconsequential circumstances lying. They regularly tell ‘baby lies’ to make their lives more convenient, yet they say that they cling to honesty as part of their core ethos.

At least that’s what I did.

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What Happens When You Live Out Liar Liar?

I never thought I was a liar.

Truthfully, my moral fiber is something I’ve always prided myself on and honesty was an integral part of that. But I didn’t realize how often I told little lies to make my life more convenient until my roommates Ben and Charlie pointed out many peoples’ tendency to do this.

This realization prompted a personal pact to tell the 100% truth no matter what…even when it forced me into uncomfortable and embarrassing positions. Well, I’m four months into living out the movie Liar Liar and can confirm it’s been an eye opening experience.

I’ll be the first to admit that I may have slipped up here and there, but I can only recall a few instances where I specifically remember saying something that wasn’t the truth. Usually this was out of unconscious habit more than anything else. In the process of being totally honest in every interaction, I definitely turned some people off…

It’s much harder to tell a new acquaintance at a party that you’re going to go mingle with other people now because “you’re seeking true love” than saying you’re leaving a conversation “to go the bathroom or grab a drink” (my former go to’s).

BUT, I also became closer to many people, both strangers and close friends because I was presenting my truest self. Above all, I realized that all forms of lying prevent people from stepping into greatness and happiness.

How Lying Prevents You From Becoming Your Best, Happiest Self

Lying has a myriad of bad consequences, but for this post I want to focus on how it undermines your personal growth. I thought a depiction of two hypothetical mens’ lives would provide a nice demonstration of how dangerous lying really is.

Meet Bob

Most people consider Bob a good guy.

He’s friendly, has a good job, and never has a potty mouth in front of his elders. But what no one knows about Bob is that he lies a lot. His lies are almost always about seemingly trivial things. This is why people are unaware of this tendency and still think he’s a good dude.

In addition to lying to others, Bob also lies to himself about why he doesn’t have the relationships, professional success, and health he desires for his life. In the comfort of his thoughts, Bob blames the fact that he’s been dealt a worse hand for his good, but less than ideal disposition.

“Things are just naturally easier for others” Bob says.

To be fair, this is true. Bob is not the #1 gifted human on earth. But deep down Bob knows that he’s gifted enough to change his circumstances…it’d just take a lot of work and discomfort to get the results he wants.

So he’s faced with a decision:

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If he’s 100% honest with himself, he’ll have to accept responsibility for his life and do the work to get the results he wants.

If he lies to himself, he can continue blame something else which makes it easier to cope with reality and avoid the necessary hard work and discomfort to get the relationships, success, and everything else he wants.

Bob chooses to continue to lie. This is actually a very easy choice that he doesn’t even think about. Easy? How the heck can that be? Well, because Bob already lies regularly to others and himself, feeding his brain this belief comes naturally at this point.

Bob stays the same, nothing bad happens, and he continues to live a quiet life of desperation.

Meet Mike

Mike is Bob’s friend and frat brother from college.

In his junior year, Mike read a book that made him realize that most things were possible if you could just push through the discomfort phase which is where most others stop. When Mike discovered this he started pursuing the things he wanted for his life with zeal. In the process, he naturally became more self-aware and honest with himself.

The root of his self-awareness was that all of life’s skills could be learned and delights acquired if he was willing to do the workOften this meant working on himself and beliefs instead of a tangible object or hobby.

Eventually 100% honesty extended beyond himself and permeated all Mike’s interactions. He never lied to anyone, ever. To his surprise, this eventually felt much more natural than lying.

Making this switch to total honesty was much easier for Mike than Bob because he was already so honest with himself. He’d built an internal proclivity for truth that facilitated the external manifestation of unwavering honesty.

And the coolest part was that crazy things happened started happening to Mike when he began living so honestly:

  1. He became a better person.
  2. He became more confident.
  3. He became more self-aware and motivated to make changes.
  4. He became happier and less stressed out.

People started asking Mike what he was eating for breakfast!?

He’d always chuckle at this question and say his first meal starts at 2pm because he adopted intermittent fasting. Obvi.

How And Why Does 100% Honesty Make Your Life More Awesome?

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Though the caricatures of Bob and Mike are hypothetical, the effects that lying had on their lives mirror reality. Here’s why being 100% honest at all times is so powerful for personal growth.

Accountability To Live A Life That Makes Momma Proud

When you commit to never lying you become much more accountable for your actions. You don’t do things you’d be embarrassed or ashamed of because you know you need to take ownership of them. There is no easy fix for something you’re not proud of. You can’t lie remember! The only way to avoid shame is by living a life you feel comfortable sharing with everyone.

You Become More Confident

Confidence is about being comfortable with who you are even in your most vulnerable states…and developing true comfort with yourself requires cutting lies out of your life.

Why?

It is next to impossible to be 100% comfortable with who you are if your words do not mirror reality. When there’s an incongruence between the truth and what you say, you’re subconsciously signaling to yourself that you’re uncomfortable with your reality.

If you were comfortable, why would you be lying? 

If you strive to reach the greatest levels of comfort with yourself and become supremely confident, complete honesty must permeate your life at all times.

Become More Self-Aware

When you lie out of convenience you’re usually avoiding something. This could be potential rejection or taking action on something you don’t want to do. In all cases, you’re postponing or sidestepping reality.

Developing a habit of lying to postpone or shield ourselves from reality eventually makes reality harder to see. Our brains default to a falsehood that portrays a more comfortable version of our lives. As a result, we develop a disposition of diminished self-awareness.

Lack of self-awareness is terrible for self improvement because we need to first identify the realities we’d like to alter before we can take the steps to actualize the change…

Conversely, when you never lie, you constantly have to accept responsibility for reality. This inspires incredible self-awareness and a greater propensity to “lean into the truth.

Again, cognizance of reality is key for motivating our desires to change.

Oh. And You’ll Be Happier

When you’re 100% honest at all times, you never have anything to hide. This is huge.

There’s no chance of “being found out” and life feels lighter due to the absence of having to uphold a fabricated reality. You’ll have less stress and be a happier clam. Trust me.

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But What About Santa?

Are there some instances where we’re better people when we lie?

For example, telling white lies to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings?

What about Santa? Should we tell our kids that Santa isn’t real?

So far I’m going to try for 100% honesty for everything but talking about Santa. I’m sure there are a few other situational instances that might make moral sense that I can’t think of right now…but just because these extreme scenarios exist, doesn’t mean I should re-architect my philosophy because 99.9% of the time not lying is the better option. That seems more like a move to rationalize what’s easier and typically more advantageous for me instead of striving for what’s best, even if it means taking some hits along the way.

The bottom line is the long-term costs of situational honesty or baby lies are just too high.

The truth is hard and it hurts, but are we really doing everyone a favor by masking it?

In most cases, there are ways to exercise finesse in how you communicate so that it burns less or not at all.

And being 100% honest doesn’t mean injecting your feelings or beliefs on everyone all the time. It just means when you open your mouth what you say is true. Many times when I have a belief that might hurt someone that does not need to be stated, I’ll just keep it to myself because I don’t want to make someone else feel bad. But if someone asks me something that requires a response, you better believe I’m holding my ground and telling the truth.

Also, for instances that relate to ourselves, I’d challenge people who are weary of flying the 100% honesty flag if the instances that their worried about are a product of their own behavior?

The harsh reality might not be so harsh if you acted differently beforehand because you knew you couldn’t lie.

After 4 months of raw honesty, I’ve noticed an incredibly positive effect on how I conduct myself, my confidence, self-awareness, and proclivity to hunt the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, it has been painful at times and I’ve definitely turned some people off in the process. But the benefits for myself and the people in my life that I care about have far outweighed any pain I’ve endured. This is my case for cutting lies from our lives. And yes, this means even the baby one’s we use for convenience!

I genuinely believe doing this will help us become the greatest, happiest version of ourselves.

Scott is a lifestyle entrepreneur based in Rio De Janeiro. He writes about self-improvement, business, and lifehacks at Life-LongLearner.com and tweets at Britton.

The Least Talked About Enemy of Personal Growth | Life Long Learner

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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