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Power Up Passages

Honest To Goodness.

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January 4, 2007.

“Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.”
Thomas Carlyle

Honesty is always the best policy. Most of us have heard this ageless expression from the time we were tiny tots. The lesson to be learned from this axiom was as simple as it was straight-forward: if we would simply tell the truth, no matter the costs, we would come out ahead in the long run.

Yet do most people really believe this adage anymore? And even more importantly, do they practice what they preach, making honesty an integral part of their everyday action? A quick glance around us, depending on where we look, can paint a pretty bleak picture. Honesty has seemingly been replaced with a mishmash of fibs, falsehoods and fabrications

“A half truth is a whole lie.”
Proverb

When did telling the truth fall out of fashion? It certainly didn’t happen overnight — or by accident. More than likely, the gradual erosion of personal responsibility and accountability has greatly contributed to the slow but steady deterioration of honesty in our world today. And that’s more than a shame; it’s a disturbing trend that can have devastating consequences if left unchecked.

I sincerely believe that most people are good, striving to do the right thing; making every effort to conduct themselves in a forthright manner. Yet doesn’t it sometimes feel as though good old fashioned honesty has become an out of date relic, a worthless notion rendered almost obsolete by a society sadly accustomed to deception and deceit from people all around them?

“When you stretch the truth, watch out for the snapback.”
Bill Copeland

Now many will quickly point out, some with convincing conviction, that telling the truth isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. After all, they muse, who doesn’t stretch the truth and fiddle with the facts on occasion? And besides, they continue, what’s the real harm with telling a little white lie on occasion, especially when it helps your particular situation or circumstance? The real harm, my friends, is that dishonesty makes you less than you were born to be; a whole lot less.

In a world where people lie to us every single day, it’s easy to become somewhat cynical and perhaps downright jaded. It’s even easier to join the untruthful brigade and get what’s ours by any avenue possible. When we see people we know and work with finagling the truth, people we buy goods and services double dealing us and last but certainly not least, our elected officials repeatedly lying like a well worn rug, it’s difficult to maintain our integrity and do the right thing. Especially when it appears others are getting ahead while we’re stuck in a rut playing it straight.

“I am different from Washington; I have a higher, grander standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I won't.”
Mark Twain

So how do we go about preserving our honesty and integrity in a world where these very attributes are in desperately short supply? In a word, character. We all have it, yet far too many have lost it in the hustle and bustle of life’s daily grind. And there are others who have foolishly forsaken it in their insatiable at-all-costs quest for the almighty buck. To wake up and understand that distortion and dishonesty have suddenly become mainstream should be quite an eye-opener to say the least.

Our character, the resilient moral fiber within that defines who we are and what we are all about, must never be compromised if we are ever to reach the goals we cherish and hold dear. Each time we take the low road and use lies and deceit to further our cause or promote our pursuits, we systematically compromise our character. And if we do it often enough, just to get ahead in the sort run, we risk losing it in the long run forever. That’s simply not a chance we can afford to take.

“Truth is such a rare thing; it is delightful to tell it.”
Emily Dickinson

Remember, honesty, integrity and character are not just words. Nor are they lofty, unattainable platitudes somewhere out in the distance. They are a way of life for the winners. Rather than following an ill-advised plan based on deceit or deception, why not put the power of your character to work for you and blaze the high road instead?

Don’t worry about those that play fast and loose with the rules. Whether they realize it or not, they’re giving up a lot to get whatever they’re getting right now. Besides, you CAN get EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted and more with an honest to goodness approach to living. Just look for the good, in both people and the world we live in, and wholeheartedly adopt honesty as your ONLY policy. You’ll quickly discover that’s a policy you can certainly live with.

The Bottom Line: A lie may temporarily take care of the present, but it has no future.


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Author: Greg Hickman


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