What is the truth?
Philosophers, pundits and political operatives have been debating, trading and postulating ideas about what constitutes truth (“depends on what the meaning of 'is' is”) for eons.
Even the Three Stooges weighed in with their version of what the whole truth is.
So in a few hundred words I doubt I'll add a new dimension to this age-old question.
But I have a perspective on what it looks like at work.
Turns out we really all know what the truth is. Its what's real at the end of the day. Its the sense you have in your gut – much broader and richer than simple “facts.” Truth is what's left standing when all the hyperbole, positioning and posturing have been stripped away. If you're ever really confused about the truth, try this. Go to the restroom, splash some water on your face and look in the mirror. The truth will be staring back at you.
Struggle to be Honest
How do you feel when someone says, “Let me be honest with you…” You mean you haven't been? Is it a special situation for us to be honest? Why is truth so difficult for us? Somewhere along the way – maybe two hundred thousand years ago as humans began to roam the earth in packs – we struggled to tell the truth. Somehow we began to tell ourselves, and maybe even believe, that the truth would sometimes not set us free. That it would be better to lie. Or, as we say in polite society, obfuscate, prevaricate and fabricate.
But we know that's not true (pun intended).
A Better Way
Humans hold communications (and opposing digits) as one of the key differentiators between our species and others. And yet, we inhibit that same communication when we shade the truth. Isn't there a better way?
To improve at anything – intelligence, strength, health, skill,etc., – we must start with a clear-eyed assessment of where we are today. Should we want to improve our relationships with others we have to assess the status of those relationships today.
If you have been less than honest in business and personal affairs, your relationships are less than they could be. This is axiomatic.
Now maybe that's okay with you: many many people make this choice throughout the day and thus ultimately their lives. But apart from the moral dilemma (please refer to TheThree Stooges for moral coaching) richer relationships at work can mean more than just feeling good.
Relationships based on sharing the truth can be richer in the coin of the realm as well as in our psychic pocketbook. Think of the vendors you pay a premium to today based on your ability to trust their word.
In the End
Should you tell the truth because it will make you money? I'd like to think you'd tell the truth even if it costs you, but that's up to you.
Truth is simple and elegant and evident. Its our relationship to the truth that makes all the difference to others.