Tell the Truth OR Atleast dont lie

  • By Paramananda Ponnaiyan
  • 04 Jul, 2020
Tell the Truth OR Atleast dont lie

Truth is usually touted as a virtue. I disagree, I feel its a life skill. If you can build your life around truth it is more secure and resilient to chaos.

Mental Models

None of us actually lives in the world. We live in the model we have created in our heads about the world. Usually our mental models allow us to survive in our current situation. The truths and untruths that we believe allow us to remain in our current situation.

If you think about it, the untruths we believe to be true, keep us where we are and allow us to stay where we are. The truth will set you free.

Untrue Beliefs

How do we start to believe an untruth ?

It begins with us being dishonest. The lies we tell ourselves are not obvious lies in our perspective. In fact in our perspective they are true. They are usually superficial truths. We accept these untruths when we dont dig deep enough to discover the real truth. In a sense, it begins with us being dishonest about finding out the truth.

For example, driven by the fear of critical feedback, we prefer to think of people as biased. We surmise that people are being critical because of bias. Similarly the critics prefer to believe that the work had no merit than to confront their own biases. Could the real truth be a bit of both ?

Uncovering the real truth is hard and requires the ability to confront our own weaknesses and fears.

The power of the truth

There are many benefits to being truthful. Here are a few -

  1. People trust truthful people.
  2. If your mental model is based on the truth, it is more resilient to the chaos the world can inflict.
  3. If the truth is on your side, you will have tremendous self confidence.
  4. untruths lead to more untruths while the truth leads to more truths.

Atleast dont lie

Being dishonest, has 2 flavors

  1. We dont tell the truth.
  2. We tell lies.

If its hard to always tell the truth, we should try to atleast avoid outright lying. Dont create new untruths. Most white lies can be replaced with avoiding to answer.

Your five year old shows you a painting she has done. Dont say “Its wonderful honey!” if thats a lie. Instead, point out the things that are really nice. Dont say the things you dont like if you are not comfortable doing so. Your compliment will come across more genuine (because it is).

TL;DR

Being truthful will give you confidence and resilience in the face of life’s chaos. The truth will enable you to develop better mental models which will make you more effective in the world.