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Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?


Photo Courtesy of Venicio Inc.

The Mistress of LinkedIn Controversy, Candice Galek, has managed to ring that bell again but not in her usual way. The question, “Do you agree that Honesty is Always the Best Policy?”, from the outset, would appear to be one which would foster little disagreement. However, I  have been mulling this over for a while and now seems to be the perfect time post those thoughts. Albeit, one of my objectives is to take commonly accepted phrases that have been stamped as truthful or inspirational, and scrutinize their theories. Questioning its logic doesn’t presume it is incorrect; on the contrary, at times can bring about a larger conviction to that meaning. And it can also shed light on a fallacy to a long-standing tradition. What better phrase to start with than this one?

Honesty may not always be the best policy, but before anyone runs into a tirade, allow me a brief explanation. Generally speaking, honesty is the way to go but at times may not be the best mode to get the job done. Honesty can be described by words such as truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness. But in all “honesty”, what is truth? How do we know when someone is truly sincere or what if your frankness borders on bigotry or hate?

Let’s face it. No matter what YOU believe the truth is, we each ultimately decide what our own truth is. My truth may be completely different from yours but that doesn’t mean I am right and yours is wrong or vice versa. If I interpret your sincerity as brown-nosing, who am I to tell you that you are not being honest. Furthermore, if someone who has been working and struggling hard to lose weight and your frankness tells them they haven’t changed one bit, your “best policy” is more than likely a sign of your own inadequacies.

What is important is integrity, kindness, and good intention. These qualities may at times require bending the truth but the results work in conjunction with honesty and creating the best outcome. Integrity takes honesty but is tempered by reason and courtesy. Kindness is something everyone could use more of and good intentions does not conflict with being honest. No doubt these qualities have diverse meanings for different people but generally, their outcomes will be similar.

I find that many so-called “inspirational” statements are written in such a way to make you feel shameful if you don’t do what they say. What is more ironic than that? The next time you come across a supposed time-honored slogan, think about it. Don’t swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Give it consideration. Make it “your truth” in a way that creates better a  understanding of yourself. After all, isn’t that the real value in success? Honesty, honestly, is a great policy; it just may not ALWAYS be best.  Looking forward to your thoughts.

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