There is a lot of talk about honesty after the election. People were tossing around words like trustworthy, truthfulness, and a few more. Many think that honesty meant not lying or just telling the truth. The most common definition of a lie is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive. The truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, which is not as straightforward as you may think. Often truth is based on a belief and becomes subjective. There is a Chinese proverb that goes like this: “There are three truths. There’s my truth, your truth and then THE truth.” So, what the heck does honesty mean?
I realized that the word Honesty refers to a moral character and suggests positive attributes such as truthfulness, straightforwardness, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. If you look through literature, I believe Honesty is used to mean being trustworthy, loyal, dependable, and sincere. With all that said, honesty is an important element of business and can be subjective.
Honesty is the foundation upon which a person builds any relationship such as family or friends. By being honest, a person will make you feel that they are trustworthy and capable of exposing their true self. A person may endanger their relationship with others if they tell lies. For example, a child tells their mother that he will go to the library to study. However, he ends up going to a friend’s party and gets caught. After that incident, you will not trust the child as much as before and doubt what he says later. Honesty produces trust which is needed for a relationship. I have also seen that people have a tendency of relying on an honest person. Just remember that there is a subjective element to honesty.
Consider a person that breaks promises, ignores commitments or hides information. It would be very difficult to trust or form a relationship with such a person. First of all, most would conclude that this person is not trustworthy, not dependable and not sincere.
I also believe that being honest all of the time can backfire on a person. There are situations when being honest would inflict pain and stress on somebody else. Sometimes, you need to justify what is the best solution because not telling the truth, in certain cases, is the best way to protect someone from being hurt.
That is just some of the problems with a position of always telling the truth. So, there is more to it than just not telling a lie. Whatever the absolute or literal definition is of honesty, I believe it is best to have the intention, to be honest.
I would be curious what you think. We have people that have been proven to be dishonest 75% of the time, and they seem to be successful. So, is honesty a key element of success?