Lying can be great if you’re good at it.
Confession time: Yes, I’ve lied. And you have too, so stop doing that thing with your eyebrows.
So let’s talk a touch about some of the awesome things about lying. Just a little bit. I won’t indulge too much.
1. Lying is great for getting you out of things you thought might be great at one point in time, but now you realize the error of your ways.
On Wednesday, your friend texts you about someone’s get-together happening Saturday night. You agree to attend without awareness of how awful the rest of your week will be.
Come Saturday, it’s below 30 degrees because you probably live in the Midwest. You’re tired because you work in a job where you interact with people. And nothing sounds better to you than wine, pajamas, SNL andGrubHub.
A quick call to say, “I’ve come down with something” with a well-timedcoughcough will land you comfortably on your couch for the evening.
2. Lying is great for avoiding second dates you don’t want to go on.
You receive a text from a girl you recently went out with. (Of course it’s another text, it’s 2015). She wants to go out again. The date wasn’t awful, per se, but you know it’s not going anywhere with this person. You’d rather not waste your time.
- Step 1: Tell them you promised a friend you would watch his dogs.
- Step 2: Continue your increasingly creative string of lies which make you appear to be a generally awesome person until she gets a clue that you’re not interested.
Nah. I said I wouldn’t indulge. Plus, I don’t want to give any good future lies I have stored away. (Kidding-ish).
In both situations, a small dose of honesty would get the same job done. You could just tell your friend, “On second thought, I’m tired and would rather crash”. You could just call the girl and tell her, “you’re a nice person, but I don’t want to waste your time”. It’s obviously much tougher in the moment but in the long run, it’s really the only choice. They’ll appreciate the honesty. I promise.
Instinctively, most people with a soul and a general concern for other people’s feelings already know this.
What I really want to talk about is lying to ourselves. It’s especially harmful because we don’t always realize that we’re doing it.
Here are a few ways that it’s happened to me that I’ve observed coupled with a few suggestions to guard against it.
When presented with an opportunity
Richard Branson once said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes — then learn how to do it later!”
I agree. But only if that opportunity points you in the direction you want to go.
It’s easy to jump at the first sign of progress. Especially when you’re frustrated or in need of a change. But getting on the wrong train just because it’s the first one that comes to the station can be more detrimental than waiting in the cold a few more minutes.
My suggestion is to echo the advice of Greg McKeown:
“…it’s only by saying no to things that aren’t really meaningful that we have the space and energy to concentrate on the things that are”.
If you don’t know what’s meaningful for you yet, then pounce on whatever opportunities you can get your hands on; then get right on top of figuring out what gets you up in the morning.
When you’re subject to cognitive biases
One common bias that you may have heard of is “the endowment effect”.
“In behavioral economics, the endowment effect (also known as divestiture aversion) is the hypothesis that people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them.”
We do this all the time. Just look in your garage, your office, your closet, your Facebook friends list, etc. A lot of it is junk that’s just cluttering our lives. But we so cherish our junk.
This also applies to both settling when we should be hustling, (which is always) and the allure of new opportunities that I just mentioned.
Ask yourself, “when I didn’t have this opportunity, how hard did I work to get where I am today?”
Don’t deceive yourself into getting comfortable in your current situation. We live in a “what have you done for me lately” world and lately is usually as often as last week.
When you spend too much time with your own thoughts
It’s easy to get confused when weighing decisions when you’re debating them with yourself. For ex., you sit down and make a pros and cons list of all the options in front of you.
This isn’t a bad idea. But some of your “cons” might not be drawbacks from another vantage point.
To avoid selling yourself on the wrong decision, run it by a friend for their take — preferably, your most rational friend, followed by your most impulsive one. You’ll get the full spectrum of opinion.
We all want to make the right decisions when faced with the metaphorical fork in the road. Self awareness and understanding is essential to forging the right path for yourself.
If none of this sticks, just remember the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. i.e. Don’t lie to others as you wouldn’t lie to yourself.
Thanks for reading! If you got any value from this, it would mean a lot to me if you shared it with someone else. Pay it forward. That’s how we all got here after all!
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