Straight Talk from Al Jacobs
THE CASH VALUE OF HONESTY
While staring directly into the mirror, pose this question: Is that the face of an honest person? If the answer is even marginally affirmative, then try the follow-up query: Will that really enhance my overall life performance?
The real question to be asked is whether honesty is always the best policy. The simple fact is the use of deceptive words and phrases - euphemisms, if you prefer - as well as outright lies is a time-honored tradition. Candidly, lies and deception are used on a regular basis by the most "reputable" organizations for whatever purpose may be required at the time. If any of this is a surprise, you haven’t been observant.
With that as a lead-in on public and institutional honesty, what must we demand of ourselves? It’s appropriate to re-ask the question whether honesty is in fact the best policy. This cannot be settled with the expected affirmative answer provided by your scout troop leader or parish deacon, nor should you accept the cynical negative response most certainly gotten from a carnival sideshow operator or district alderman. Not until you come to terms with your own personal aspirations, family expectations, and demands of society, can you fashion a realistic code by which to live. In the final analysis, honesty for most people is rarely an absolute. Instead, it’s relative and often selective. How relative and selective yours will be is an important life decision.
Let’s now approach this head on. It’s my firm conviction a reputation for impeccable honesty is among the most valuable assets you can possess. There are no limits to the doors that open and the opportunities afforded a man or woman whose words and actions can be trusted. Whether you’re of truly high moral character, or possess the personal values of an eighteenth century London pickpocket, is not the issue. From a purely pragmatic frame of reference, conduct your affairs in a way that your reliability can never be criticized. So if you cannot bring yourself to adhere to these standards, at least try to be discreet in your dishonesty.
It’s vital you not lose sight of the fact that a sterling reputation is an irreplaceable commodity to be guarded carefully. And just as it’s advantageous to be believed, strive to deal with others who likewise are believable. In short, recognize that there’s cash value in honesty.