Friday, June 10, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Be honest with yourself

From we are very young, we are all thought the importance of being truthful for obvious reasons. Everyone has heard the story of young George Washington who could not tell a lie. History focuses on his honesty, while he is getting a free pass for his more than questionable decision to needlessly kill a cherry tree.

People with a creative relationship with the truth are unreliable and unaccountable. You've probably had to deal with situations where someone simply refuses to acknowledge the truth. Imagine if this was the common way of interacting. Nothing would ever be accomplished, no one would ever be accountable for anything.

Being truthful is not easy, it is sometimes painful and quite often embarrassing. Telling the truth will often require a truly brave soul. The reward is simple though; the truth will set you free. Or as Oscar Wilde puts it "The greatest thing about always telling the truth is that you never have to remember what you have said".

As important as honesty is to build trust and accountability we frequently lie to and deceive ourselves. It is very easy to lie to yourself as your always telling yourself what you want to hear, but if you want to achieve your goals you have to learn how to be brutally honest with yourself.

The ways we lie to ourselves are plentiful. There is a huge set of subconscious mechanisms that tend to distort the truth in our favor. As if that wasn't enough, we all actively try to trick ourselves every day.  Without a sharp mental focus on these mind tricks, nothing is easier than to lie to yourself.

A typical way of being mentally dishonest is thinking along this pattern: "I really need to save some money, but I have to buy new school clothes for the kids". This is a lie. We almost never HAVE to do anything. The truth is, you make a choice that getting new clothes is more important than saving that money. Telling yourself that you have no choice but to buy the clothes is dishonest.

If you make a decision, you should always acknowledge that you have just made a choice. It is your active conscious mind that decided that new clothes was more important than saving money. This means again that it is your responsibility if the decision backfires. This kind of mental honesty requires a lot stronger mind than living in a perpetual state of making excuses for yourself. The upside is that when you face up to the truth it is very empowering.

Accepting responsibility for our thoughts and actions is an important part of achieving our goals and being effective. Listening to our own excuses on the other hand is just giving us an opportunity to procrastinate and avoid facing our challenges. Be mindful of thoughts that are really just excuses. Most of the time, if you need to make up an excuse for yourself you are not really committed to what you think you should be doing. It is ok to decide to not finish a project or to chose to watch old movies all day. But if you do, you owe it to yourself to make that decision consciously and not try hide the choice you made behind an excuse.

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