Being honest is important if you want to build a meaningful relationship with anyone, be it at home or work. When you decide to be an important person to someone, get into a relationship and wholly commit to someone, you must prepare to have your promises scrutinized, your actions monitored by him or her and the entire world! Lots of curious cats surround us, you see!
A Shining Beacon of Honesty
People who set high expectations from you would expect you to be honest with your intentions and words. And what better way to talk about this virtue than talking about a man whose nickname itself contained the word “honest” – Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, a.k.a Honest Abe.
Apart from his passion to ensure people of all backgrounds and colour be treated equally, there was another reason people loved him so much. It was because he chose to be as honest as he could every time; to everyone he met in his life. There are plenty of examples that can be given here. There was a time when he had erroneously over-charged one of the clients in the shop he used to work in. Although he didn’t have to, he shut the shop, trailed the customer who had just left his shop, tracked him, and returned the excess money to him.
In another incident, a lady had been to the shop to buy some goods. She paid him the required money and then headed back home. Abe had realised that there was an added weight to the scales that he had forgotten to take off when he was measuring out the item for the lady who had shopped at his store. In this case, he didn’t return the difference amount but simply gave the appropriate quantity of item to the lady and called it even. It’s surprising, isn’t it, that hundreds of years back although people didn’t own much possessions, they had a more honest and giving heart than what we have now-a-days!
Even though he has been dead for so many years, Abraham Lincoln is still considered to be a pillar of truth and is quoted as one of the finest examples in terms of politicians stating the truth! Wouldn’t you like to be remembered as the virtuous gentleman who personified honesty?!
Today’s World of Dishonesty
What we have today instead is hundreds of scams hitting countries all over the world, very hard. It’s not the elite rich who are impacted by it. It is instead the common, middle class and the poor who are the worst affected by the cunning scams pulled off by conmen in various industries. Talk about any industrial sector or profession, and you’ll see that it has been plagued by one or the other scam at some point in time. In India itself, there have been numerous scams pulled off by people dabbling in the share market, by innumerable politicians, by people involved in the money lending and investment business, in the world of doctors and pharmaceuticals, and even those pulled off by common people such as auto and cab drivers!
For those who aren’t aware of it, drivers who charge their fare based on meters fixed in their vehicles have a technique by which they can make the meter jump ahead in terms of the distance covered, thereby making him eligible to charge a higher fare than what is actually owed. So, for example, if you’ve only travelled 5km, the rigged meter would show that you’ve actually travelled 8km. And there’s an extra Rs.30 that you owe to the driver. Another way in which the meter can be rigged is that instead of charging the approved rate per km., it will display a higher fare. Say you need to a minimum amount of Rs. 20 for a distance of up to 2 km, and for every km. You travel after that, you need pay Rs. 10. So ideally, for 5 km., you owe the driver only Rs. 50, but because of the tampered meter, you end up paying Rs. 70. There are so many other ingenious ways in which common people are duped every day, but they can’t all be listed here because we’d run short of space and the list would still not be complete!
How Honesty Weighs in on Your Profession
Being honest to each other in everyday life is fine, but we all are wary of being excessively honest in our professional lives, aren’t we? We all face cut-throat competition and most of us are trained to get to the top by hook or by crook, which sometimes involves using dishonest tactics. But there are actually three important reasons why one must strive to be as honest in your professional lives as possible. The reasons are:
- Earn Others’ Respect – Those who show honesty even when they are put under stress instantly win the respect and trust of people, no matter what designation they work in the office. And it’s not just people working in large conglomerates who benefit from being honest. Even those who work on a freelance or small scale can be benefitted, because everyone must after all interact with other people to earn money. There are certain people with whom you must remain on good terms in order to be successful. Plus, you too respect them for their power, for their work, for their abilities, and for the help that they provide you with your work. Honest dealing with such people is especially important because when they respect you back, you can continue to hold them in the high esteem that have been holding them at.
- It’s a flaw – No matter what justification you provide when questioned for your reasons to being dishonest, you cannot convince your questioner completely. What’s worse, it is a flaw that they will forever be associated with you and will remind people of your weakness every time a situation crops up that demands integrity of people. All reasoning you provide for being dishonest will always be considered as an excuse, and those that breach terms of contracts can also be punishable by law.
- Karma! – There’s a very popular saying – “What goes around comes back around”. And this is especially true when it comes to lying. When you lie to a person, and you are caught, the person would lose their trust and respect for you. But apart from that, they would have no qualms in being dishonest to you the next time a situation convenient for them arises. Even if you don’t get caught, your actions will have a way of leaving their impression on you, on your psyche, that will trouble your conscience until you do something to set it right. And as a firm believer in the power of goodness and a Higher Authority above all human beings, we believe that even if people don’t punish you for your wrongdoings, you will get your fate served to you in some other way in future! So why face the ire of karma when you can appease it with good deeds!
Use Honesty Judiciously
Chanakya was one of the best strategists the world has ever produced, and probably ever will. One of his teachings is that one must never be “too honest” when it comes to your profession. Despite all that has been discussed above, this teaching is actually very true, and must be followed. But bear in mind that being excessively honest about you, your personal life must be avoided. You must not reveal every intimate detail about your family, your past, your habits, your earnings, or your business dealings with other people, companies, and your managers to whomsoever may ask you.
There is something that should never be disclosed at your workplace so that you maintain a good professional impression at your workplace. However, you must be completely honest when it comes to handling other people’s trust, money, and dealing with one another in office. There were times when Chanakya asked Chandragupta Maurya to withhold some facts, but it was for the larger good of his country, not for his self-benefit.
So be careful how you conduct yourself, especially in your professional sphere because the world is no longer a happy place filled with content people. There will be backstabbing, competition that you need to face, and challenges that you need to overcome. Try to be as honest and straightforward in your dealings as possible without exposing yourself to risks from other people, and you can lead a peaceful professional life. Otherwise, you’d be busy worrying about getting exposed, or about how your lies would affect you, or how you need to continue lying or fudging documents to maintain your integrity! All these mind games may look good in TV serials, but they can actually be really mentally draining! So don’t waste your time hiding your lies, but instead be decisive and a good judge of handling your clients and facts.