We live in interesting times and one of the interesting things I’m enjoying is the spotlight being shone on honesty and dishonesty. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary honesty implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way.
In his book Living Deliberately (page 62) Harry Palmer poses two questions:
Would I like living in a world where everyone is as honest as I am?
Ask yourself those questions. You are a better person that I am if you can always answer collective honesty. I sometimes answer collective dishonesty. I’m not out there robbing banks or anything but I do my share of pretending and deceiving. I am a lot better now than I used to be and I’m catching myself before I act dishonestly more often.
My nephew recently asked me to mail him somethings that he was planning to buy in the U.S. He lives in England. If I had the purchases mailed to me and resent them to him declaring them to be a gift he could avoid paying the customs duties. My first reaction was yes, of course – that is a kind and generous thing to do, right? My second reaction was no, that would be cheating the system – that is dishonest. We worked out together how to do this honestly and both got a lesson in honesty. It just highlighted to me how easy it is to slip into a dishonest act.
I can answer the second question. I want to live in a world where everyone is more honest than I am. Can you imagine being able to trust everyone in all your transactions? Think how much energy and time we’d save. Think how many checks and balances we could take off our governmental systems. How much time and resource would be freed up for doing new things instead of checking and double checking that no one is trying to defraud us.
I know that when I am honest things are clear and straightforward. It is pretty easy to get people’s help because you are not hiding anything. Relationships are much easier. Lies and deceit create separation. And life is easier. Remembering what you said and continuing to hide the deceit is stressful.
What can you do to add to the collective honesty of the world?