Success & Prosperity Blog

Does Honesty Pay?

By Randy Gage in Success, Prosperity.

Message from RG:  Merry Christmas, everyone!  I’m lounging under a palm tree on a much-needed vacation for a few weeks.  So to fill your insatiable need for brilliant and helpful self-development info each morning, I’ve asked some of my clever friends to sit in for me during my absence.  Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Joachim de Posada:

Does honesty really pay?  It’s an interesting question.  And if it does, why are so many people dishonest?

There is a very funny story going around about the honesty of a kid in an incident with a teacher. This is how it is told:

Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, “fried chicken.”

She said I wasn’t funny, but she couldn’t have been right, because everyone else laughed.

My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did.  Fried chicken is my favorite animal.  I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA.  He said they love animals very much.

I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office.  I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was.  I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.

She sent me back to the principal’s office. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.

I don’t understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn’t like it when I am.

Today, my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most.  I told her, “Colonel Sanders.”

Guess where I am now…

Even though this is a very funny story, I think there is a strong message behind it. The fact of the matter is that sometimes people get in trouble for being honest.  In fact, being totally honest could be detrimental to your personal and professional life.

Honesty, you always hear, is the best policy. Even so, it will not catch you by surprise that in reality dishonesty probably rules your life.

Salespeople lie about their products or services just to make a sale. They rationalize that what is important is to make the sale because that way you will be able to feed your family and if you told the whole truth about the product or service, you might not sell it.

Husbands and wives (depending who cooks) lie about whether they loved dinner even though it really wasn’t that good. But why fight over it, what will you gain if you do? Maybe he or she won’t want to cook again for you.

Employees lie about the reason a task assigned is not yet completed or how many calls were received on account of the advertisement they placed on the local newspaper.

Customer service people lie about warranties, extended warranties, reliability of the product and anything else related to it.

What about politicians? How can both be telling the truth when what they are saying is exactly the opposite? One of them must be lying or maybe even both.

In survey after survey about leadership, honesty comes out on top or close to the top on qualities that a leader should possess.

Yet, leaders, managers, supervisors and employees lie all the time. We all believe that “a little white lie” is not so bad and makes life easier to cope with.

Why have fights with your spouse over a dress when it is so much easier to just say “darling, you look wonderful”?

Why make your neighbor feel horrible over their new car purchase when you tell him how badly that car scored in Consumer Report magazine evaluations of cars?

My dear readers, it is hard to be totally honest.  And yet, we must all consider if we let ourselves get used to saying things that are “socially accepted” or convenient rather than true, that we lose sight of the truth in important areas of our lives.

I wonder if we are also losing a little bit of our integrity, our values and who we really are.

What is honesty anyway?

When you describe honesty, it is fairly simple: truthfulness, sincerity or frankness. Freedom from deceit or fraud. Basically it is what you believe from your own individual perspective.

This is easy enough to understand when you are stating facts: “the moon is smaller than the earth” is either true or false. Honesty means saying the true thing. It gets more complicated when you are expressing an opinion: chocolate is delicious is not true or false in an absolute sense; it is only true in relation to the taste of the person saying it.

In this case, honesty means declaring your opinion even though for someone else, it is completely false.

Beyond the dictionary meaning of what the word itself means, there is a way that you can act out honesty in the real world. Honesty is in reality, a characteristic of an act, behavior or personality.  It is the difference between making an honest living or not. A gang member might not tell a single lie in 24 hours but we wouldn’t think that he or she is an “honest” person.

The bottom line is that honesty is about trust. With your behavior and example, convincing others that you are to be trusted, that your word means something, that others are able to deal with the truth as you tell it.

There are situations that might lead us to be dishonest although not necessarily:

We are afraid of being punished for something we did.

We are afraid of hurting another person’s feelings.

We don’t want someone we love to think badly of us.

We are protecting another person

We don’t want someone to do better than us.

We need to need to protect ourselves.

We are protecting another person’s image of ourselves.

We dislike another person.

These reasons are vague, I know, and they may possibly overlap depending on the situation, but my point is to demonstrate that more often than not, dishonesty is provoked by fear or danger.

So, the salesman lies because he fears losing a sale or making a smaller sale. The spouse lies because she is afraid of hurting his partner’s feelings, losing the partner himself or losing some of the benefits of the relationship.  The employee lies because she is afraid of losing her job or being demoted.

The student lies because he is afraid of failing the class.  The gang member lies because he is afraid of being sent to prison or provoking other gang members from other gangs or his own gang to get revenge.  The Doctor lies because he is afraid of being sued or even losing his license to practice medicine.

The politician lies because he wants to make sure he is elected. He will make promises he knows he can’t possible keep. (The sad thing is that even so people vote for him. They just want to hear the promise.)

Think of all the times you might not have told the truth, or the whole truth.  Think of all the times you have told “white lies.”

What were you afraid of?

How does it feel to live in fear? How does it feel to give in to it?

This is a difficult subject, only you can decide how best to handle it.  I can say that honest people establish a reputation and good things happen to them.

– JdP

Joachim is an international speaker and the author of, Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet  You can find him at: www.joachimdeposada.com and  https://twitter.com/Joachimdeposada

Tags: , , ,

Affiliate Relationship Disclosure

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

20 thoughts on “Does Honesty Pay?

  1. Leeloo says:

    thanks for posting on Christmas! Yeah, an interesting topic. I made the experience that honest people at some point will meet honest people in life so there is no misunderstanding. and in case i am not sure if I can hurt s.o. feelings I´d describe honesty in disguise, add a portion of humour to it and not say it all. but, I stay honest. i had lots of fights in life due to arguing open & honest but hey, it didn´t kill me 🙂

  2. Leeloo says:

    thanks for posting on Christmas! Yeah, an interesting topic. I made the experience that honest people at some point will meet honest people in life so there is no misunderstanding. and in case i am not sure if I can hurt s.o. feelings I´d describe honesty in disguise, add a portion of humour to it and not say it all. but, I stay honest. i had lots of fights in life due to arguing open & honest but hey, it didn´t kill me 🙂

  3. Jonathan1 says:

    You make some good points here.. And I learned many years ago in one of my first personal growth seminars that Integrity is not a place you go to nor is it something you learn in a book. It’s about keeping agreements with yourself as well as others. So in the agreements we make with ourselves, telling the Truth is probably high on the list. However, as you point out, we often do not speak honestly in fear we won’t be viewed as we like or for various other reasons. As his Holiness says, “Accept and Surrender”.. And there lies the challenge for all of us.. To FULLY accept Who We Are and surrender to it…honestly.

  4. Jonathan1 says:

    You make some good points here.. And I learned many years ago in one of my first personal growth seminars that Integrity is not a place you go to nor is it something you learn in a book. It’s about keeping agreements with yourself as well as others. So in the agreements we make with ourselves, telling the Truth is probably high on the list. However, as you point out, we often do not speak honestly in fear we won’t be viewed as we like or for various other reasons. As his Holiness says, “Accept and Surrender”.. And there lies the challenge for all of us.. To FULLY accept Who We Are and surrender to it…honestly.

  5. Great Post.. and First things First… Happy Holidays Joachim… 
    Yes I do thing unfortunately that many people tell Lies out of Free, and also for convenience – meaning they don’t want to take the extra time it may require to truly explain something etc…  Not that I am perfect because I am not… However I do attempt to as Honest and authentic as possible and will even ask someone before if they are OPEN to feedback if I feel it is  going to be a Discussion that might lead to possible controversy…
    And also make sure to let others know I am open to Feedback as well…
    I also feel that HONESTY  is also open to others Perspective – as to what they feel Honesty means as well…

  6. Great Post.. and First things First… Happy Holidays Joachim… 
    Yes I do thing unfortunately that many people tell Lies out of Free, and also for convenience – meaning they don’t want to take the extra time it may require to truly explain something etc…  Not that I am perfect because I am not… However I do attempt to as Honest and authentic as possible and will even ask someone before if they are OPEN to feedback if I feel it is  going to be a Discussion that might lead to possible controversy…
    And also make sure to let others know I am open to Feedback as well…
    I also feel that HONESTY  is also open to others Perspective – as to what they feel Honesty means as well…

  7. Excellent insight Joachim!
     
    This is a difficult lesson to learn. We tell little lies from time to time but stepping in and resisting the urge to allow the lies to grow, this is the challenge. Little lies grow into bigger lies if we allow this precedent to take charge. Be careful.
     
    Karma is always in effect. You will be outed, if you are less than truthful. A challenge for sure, but if you are 100% clear in your business and personal life it does become easier to be truthful without being hurtful. Be as honest as possible and when you lie, forgive yourself. Observe the nature of your lies, especially in your biz life: was desperation the driver? Usually, it is. Gain more clarity, come from a place of faith instead of fear and the lies will die a quick death.
     
    Thanks!

  8. Excellent insight Joachim!
     
    This is a difficult lesson to learn. We tell little lies from time to time but stepping in and resisting the urge to allow the lies to grow, this is the challenge. Little lies grow into bigger lies if we allow this precedent to take charge. Be careful.
     
    Karma is always in effect. You will be outed, if you are less than truthful. A challenge for sure, but if you are 100% clear in your business and personal life it does become easier to be truthful without being hurtful. Be as honest as possible and when you lie, forgive yourself. Observe the nature of your lies, especially in your biz life: was desperation the driver? Usually, it is. Gain more clarity, come from a place of faith instead of fear and the lies will die a quick death.
     
    Thanks!

  9. wole adeniji says:

    i like this ‘honesty means declaring your opinion even though for someone else, it is completely false.’thanks for the message.

  10. wole adeniji says:

    i like this ‘honesty means declaring your opinion even though for someone else, it is completely false.’thanks for the message.

  11. Asti says:

    Integrity is the supreme form of honesty. Being honest in ones entirety is Integrity and is worth the challenges one might have to face mantainig it. As to the question of whether or not it pays, may be not instantly but on a bigger picture of ones life it certainly pays a huge time.
    Recently someone asked me what drove me to give up a job I thoroughly loved and took pride in while there came a point when it just demanded for a little of my integrity before making a great career statement. Saying no to it has not only helped me making everything thats needed to lead a life of happiness and self-worth, but also has reminded me of a life that must be taken charge of (and never let given the charge of) and led with a higher sense of fulfillment. Stronger the integrity richer the life.
    Keeping up with honesty is the first step of building your integrity. So with my little experience I recommend to be honest, be integrated with values and let the life unfold for you – of course with high paychecks of happiness.

  12. Asti says:

    Integrity is the supreme form of honesty. Being honest in ones entirety is Integrity and is worth the challenges one might have to face mantainig it. As to the question of whether or not it pays, may be not instantly but on a bigger picture of ones life it certainly pays a huge time.
    Recently someone asked me what drove me to give up a job I thoroughly loved and took pride in while there came a point when it just demanded for a little of my integrity before making a great career statement. Saying no to it has not only helped me making everything thats needed to lead a life of happiness and self-worth, but also has reminded me of a life that must be taken charge of (and never let given the charge of) and led with a higher sense of fulfillment. Stronger the integrity richer the life.
    Keeping up with honesty is the first step of building your integrity. So with my little experience I recommend to be honest, be integrated with values and let the life unfold for you – of course with high paychecks of happiness.

  13. Joe Lee says:

    This is indeed a deep subject to discuss. 
     
    I’m totally against being dishonest for self gain, like sales or business. But when it comes to protecting others, this brings the conversation to a different level. 
     
    Say I’m sick, and I do not want my family to worry about me. Is it wrong to not tell them the truth?

  14. Joe Lee says:

    This is indeed a deep subject to discuss. 
     
    I’m totally against being dishonest for self gain, like sales or business. But when it comes to protecting others, this brings the conversation to a different level. 
     
    Say I’m sick, and I do not want my family to worry about me. Is it wrong to not tell them the truth?

  15. PavelVanhara says:

    Absolutely! There’s no way you can lie and live a prosperous life. Since I started being 100% honest (3 years in row for now) my life got 1000% easier and better!!!

  16. SatvikGoje says:

    very funny

  17. logo mats says:

    Yes I do thing unfortunately that many people tell Lies out of Free, and
    also for convenience – meaning they don’t want to take the extra time
    it may require to truly explain something etc…  Not that I am perfect
    because I am not… However I do attempt to as Honest and authentic as
    possible and will even ask someone before if they are OPEN to feedback
    if I feel it is  going to be a Discussion that might lead to possible
    controversy.

  18. Pingback: Google
  19. Jacki says:

    Hi Dr Joachim, I love what you have written here. At the moment the ‘honesty’ issue is very much on my mind. I moved away from my home country almost seven years ago, Unlike many other ex-pats (and, in fact, nationals), in my country of residence, I have been totally honest in my business activities, I employed a local ‘accountant’ and registered with the government as soon as i became ‘self – employed’. Earlier this year I discovered, by accident, that my health insurance payments were not up to date. When I investigated this further, it came to light, that my tax records are also not up to date! So obviously my accountant has been totally incompetent or totally dishonest. I suspect the latter. To cut a long story short , it appears that I am now in debt to the Government Tax Dept.for a huge amount. Even though, said Tax Dept never informed me that there was a problem. I am now facing financial ruin and the loss of my home because of my honesty and my accountant’s apparent dishonesty. Any thoughts or advice on this one would be welcome.

  20. gavin says:

    Being honest has cost me my life. I’ve been bullied and hounded because I’m not crooked like everyone else.There is no place for me in this world. I’m a marked woman wherever go. Me and my family are watched and spied on. There’s one rule for us any that everyone else cares to break for them. I’ll only find peace when I’m up there and they’re all below me.

 

Like on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Watch Prosperity TV
Connect on LinkedIn

Gage on Prosperity

Enter your name and best email to get a free copy of Randy Gage's "50 Secrets of Prosperity" e-book
and receive occasional success tips from him.

Share the Love