This principle can be very hard for some people and must be practiced daily to make it a habit. Honesty means being free from fraud or deception. Following this principle means being honest with others of course, but more importantly it means being honest with oneself. In this sense, it goes hand in hand with being responsible for yourself. If you fail to be 100% responsible and blame others for your failure, you are not being honest with yourself.
It seems to be a psychological necessity that humans have always lied to themselves. Instead of following fundamental principles, humans have historically followed the need to be right – to have an answer even when there isn’t one. They have invented gods and other delusions to explain what they don’t understand but want to see, not for seeking knowledge, but for seeking righteousness or power and being liked as a good member of their group.
No matter what path we choose to go down; science, engineering, poetry, history professor, mason, laborer; whatever our life’s pursuit, we start at some point of ignorance and slowly grow our understanding of the subject matter. If you are lazy and just absorb and regurgitate everything you have fed your mind, you will develop a liberal mindset that ignores this principle and will fail at life. But if you understand the structure of reality and challenge conventional wisdom to ensure it follows fundamental principles, you are being honest with yourself and your interaction with the world and will be much happier and more successful.
It’s not that people are evil or stupid it is simply that they have never been taught the principles of causation discussed above, which define a very complex reality requiring admission that they do not know, and that requires honesty and humility! If you are ego driven, which many people are, admitting you might be wrong is hard to do, but if you are driven by continuous improvement, all failures are seen as lessons on how to improve.
One of the hardest things about telling the truth is that we are afraid it might hurt us or someone else. If that isn’t bad enough, what if we are wrong? What if what we think is the truth, is not, but just our opinion? Well, you can forget about that silly notion, because there is no such thing as the Truth with a capital T. Yes, you read that right! There is no such thing as the “Truth!” There is only cause and effect and the unknown, so get over it and focus on humility and honestly seak a common reality.
By understanding the world as an infinite set of causal relationships that can expand in the middle and at both ends of the cause chain and that at some point no one knows the answer to the next “why” question, it should be obvious that the notion of truth is totally relative to those who hold it. And as long as the common reality we call the truth continues to work for the group that holds it, it can be assumed to be a conditional truth, but it is forever up for adjustment or change. This is why reflective thinking is so important to a successful life journey. When things do not go right, stop and ask why or what could I have done differently? When someone challenges your current beliefs, stop and examine whether those beliefs are based in evidence-based causal relationships or just fanciful stories that support your current understanding.
Those who fail to understand the importance of reflective thinking are doomed to many failures in life. Stuff does not just happen – it is caused to happen and you can understand it, so make sure you really do.
Also, if we don’t tell the truth or others don’t share their truth with us, everyone loses because it prevents us from creating a better common reality. And with that common reality or truth, everyone wins.