It doesn’t always pay to be good.
There are huge stretches of human history where the only way to win has been to lie, cheat, and steal.
Luckily for those of us who suck at being bad, goodness is paying off.
It doesn’t always feel this way. We see people getting ahead by doing bad every day. Sometimes it’s in the news. Sometimes it’s in the office.
So, honestly, honesty doesn’t win in every situation or domain. And not every type of honesty wins either.
Nobody wants to lie. It just seems to be the only option sometimes. Especially when we’re feeling weak or scared.
But honesty is quickly becoming the best option in the most interesting and profitable areas in life and the economy.
Early on, all my chips were on honesty. It wasn’t a choice. It was a struggle though.
Common wisdom says that you should be honest to be a good person despite the general understanding that getting ahead sometimes requires lies and thus giving up your good-person status.
This assumption that you have to lie to be successful is not just poison for society but also ineffective in the long-term.
The lifetime of a lie is shrinking and the compounding effect of honesty is increasing. We’ll get into the mechanics of this later.
My goal is to prove to you that honesty is the best policy. Not just for being a good human, but to get ahead in business and life.
The remainder of this post will be broken down as follows:
- Honest Stories. I will tell you three personal stories to demonstrate how honesty plays out in relationships, networking, and business. These stories will help frame the rest of the post, especially the business story.
- What Honesty Is & Isn’t. This section will help us understand and define honesty in a way that is useful and powerful. A lot of people are confused about what is honest and dishonest behavior and so fail to be functionally honest. (Hint: Having no filter isn’t honesty.)
- Dangers of Honesty. We’ll look at some of the main ways people get scared off from being honest, and why most of the fear of these possible outcomes are unwarranted.
- Benefits of Honesty. Some of the most important reasons to be honest.
Time to tell some truth… [click to continue…]