That’s what they say. The truth will set you free.
We spend our childhood being taught that ‘honesty is the best policy,’ ‘winners never quit, quitters never win’ and ‘cheaters never prosper’. Did some kids get pulled aside for different talks? Did today’s leaders and your and my colleagues not get the same speeches and values when they were children? Were they taught more modern lessons like how to manipulate others? That self-importance is all you need? How to take credit and how to deflect work? How to seem genuine?
Well, I’m here to tell you that cheaters do prosper! Liars do win! Liars win because they lie opportunistically. Liars win when there’s no one around to refute the story, or in some settings, honesty is cornered into graciousness. Believe me, a liar knows this. At work, I ‘ll say “I’m always honest, sometimes to my own detriment”. And it’s true. I would rather admit to making a mistake than spending significant effort to try to hide one, only to have problems when it washes up later.
If you’ve ever read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a working class boy was mentored by his friend’s wealthy dad and given the real secrets to success that his own father didn’t know: Don’t go to college and look for a job with a pension. Don’t think that working hard will see your loyalty rewarded. Be Brutal. Expect to Win. Be in charge. Take advantage of. Use your opportunities.
Like Billy Zane’s character in the movie Titanic, self-absorbed people don’t have a problem with assuming credit, telling half-truths if not full lies, and taking advantage of any situation. Maybe we hard-working, honest sorts are just naively filling out our spreadsheets, taking our tax hits, and faithfully and patiently waiting our fair turn to get on the next lifeboat. While no one tells us that they’ve sacrificed us, for themselves.
If honesty is such a detriment, then what does the truth set me free from? Why bother? Why not join the ranks of the ruthless and gain raises, titles, promotions, cars, boats, prestige?
I once dated a pathological liar, and while it took several months for me to realize what was going on, I remained cautious friends long after we broke up. What I remember so distinctly about him, is that he once told a mutual friend, “lying is exhausting. It’s so hard to keep track of remembering who you told what lie to.”
Truth doesn’t have that issue.