The power is in the truth

July 17th, 2013 @   -  No Comments

No one would argue that being truthful is moral and ethical. No one would argue that being truthful is the quickest way to build credibility and achieve success. But how many people are really truthful?  And why do people deceive? Normally people spin or manipulate the truth to look good, to gain financially, to score political mileage or avoid blame and embarrassment.  Here are a few examples:

Falsely calling in sick

Adding a fake position to a resume to get a job…

Smiling to someone’s face and saying good things about them, but criticizing them behind their back…

Spreading rumors or forwarding emails and posting messages in social media without checking facts…

Leaving out details or part of the story for personal gain…

Being truthful can be difficult and deception seems convenient, but in the end, the cost of deception is always higher.

When we speak a lie, we often need to tell additional lies to cover up for the initial one. If we had just told the truth in the first place, we would not have to create a series of lies. This can distract us and drain our energy.

Have you seen how weak charismatic leaders look when caught lying? Why? Because when they lied, they put themselves in a position of weakness and constant stress and worry of being exposed. By contrast, when you abide by the truth, you put yourself on the side of strength. As a result, you feel more confident and look more persuasive. The truth may hurt in the short-term, but in the long-term, it sets you free.

Whether we are lying to ourselves or others, lying requires much time and energy. Keeping track of the lies requires mental energy to remember what was said. By contrast, the truth only requires us to remember what actually happened. Mark Twain was right when he said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

Telling the truth is not always pleasant and easy. But it is practical and effective in every worthy pursuit. In an environment of falsehood, selective communication, hidden agendas and low trust are the norm. In such an environment, everything takes longer than it should, as we need to document, investigate and double-check information before taking any decision or action.

Sometimes we fall into the trap of lying without knowing. For example, exchanging information by forwarding emails or posting information on social media without verifying and checking the facts is a type of lie. As the Prophet (PBUH) put it, “It is enough lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears” (Muslim).

Finally, truthfulness leads to Paradise and falsehood leads to Fire as the Prophet (PBUH) taught us. He also said, “A believer is naturally disposed to all the traits except betrayal and lying.”

Being truthful can be difficult and painful. Yet, using lies and deceit will ultimately be more painful in the long term.

Call to action: What unpleasant truths do you presently face? Have you frankly informed the concerned parties about the unpleasant aspects of the current reality?

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