Sure, you could get the Chinese symbol for “Honesty” tattooed on your arm to let people know you’re trustworthy — or you could keep things simple and just live by the rule that Honesty is the best policy.
No doubt you’ve all heard the golden rule over and over and over again. Do unto others and all that jazz. There must be something to it, though, considering how long mothers have been teaching it to their children. I believe we can all admit to being offended or hurt when we find out someone lied to us. Whether it’s a boss misleading us into doing more work for less money or taking on something outside of our job description or a friend dodging us for whatever reason and going somewhere on the sly. In discussing why people lie, we’d fill a book, but in discussing why you shouldn’t lie we merely fill a web page.
Honesty is the best policy for several reasons. Primarily, if you’re honest it will compel people to be honest with you. It’s rewarding to be thought of as a trustworthy guy. When you’ve achieved that level of respect with someone, they’ll praise you to their friends and coworkers as a standup guy. You definitely want that quality listed on your resume, whether you’re looking to move up the job ladder or catch a good looking ladies eye.
The more you find yourself being dishonest, the more you have to remember. There are dozens of quotes surrounding the telling of lies and how complicated they make life. If you tell someone you can’t hang out because you’re busy at a dinner meeting on Thursday, but later you tell them you watched a hilarious reality show on VH1 the other day, they might piece together that you’re lying to them. Even if they don’t call you on it, their opinion of you will go down significantly. Keeping your stories straight will always become more complicated the more lies you tell.
Remember that time you cut your hand punching through that window? Yeah, you and your friends all thought it was awesome, but when they’re congratulating you on such a manly feat of strength in front of your girlfriend, she’ll be wondering why you told her you cut your hand making dinner. Now you’re in the doghouse. Like the quote attributed to Mark Twain, if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
The fact of the matter is, if you’re not honest, you’re harboring secrets. Secrets are bound to do two things: come out and weigh your soul down. Now I’m not a spiritual guy, but a lie can sit heavy on your shoulders. If you fibbed to your best friend about that $20 you didn’t actually pay back or even let someone else take the blame for the fart you bombed in the elevator, that might strangely, and rightly, stick with you. Better to live without that worry on your shoulders.
Further, not many things can be more awkward than the outing of a secret. When you’re caught in a lie, all your cards are open on the table while everyone else is still hiding their hole cards. Why put yourself at such a disadvantage?
Finally, being honest is the sign of a strong man. If you’re open with your friends, you won’t resent them and they won’t resent you. If you’re honest with your partner, you won’t find yourself getting tangled in webs of little lies and you might get out of having to escort her shopping if you just tell her the truth – you hate Marshalls.
Honesty is a quality valued in all people. We seek to surround ourselves with people we can trust when the chips are down or when we just want an opinion on something. When you choose to lie about the big things, you hurt feelings. When you choose to lie even about the little things, you hurt yourself and damage the view that others have of you. It takes a strong man to be upfront and honest about everything and perhaps that’s why it’s such a rare quality. But if you’ve got it in you, you’re a few steps ahead in the race of life. Honesty still is, and always will be, the best policy.