How-to Hustle

How-to Be More Honest – Mark Twain

Can you imagine getting a light smack in the head for saying innocent words with no real ill intent? Certainly, some of you have been subjected to “naughty word” lists or possibly the likes of a swear jar…cringe.

Until I grew older and the words I couldn’t say became limited to universally banned swear words, I was actually told that lies were so bad I wasn’t even allowed to say the word (In any context).

The word lie was off limits. Nonsense words like “fib (fibbing, fibber)” were all that was acceptable around my parents.

I was pretty much baffled by this for — I’m still confused by it really.

Anyway, that prohibition didn’t work very well to teach me anything, as I spent most of my childhood/teenage years telling stories and a lot of lies.

White lies or otherwise boldened.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ― Mark Twain

Though I often told lies as a kid, they were never of such consequence that I couldn’t keep the story straight (I hope). It was like a game to me, just a way to kill time and add a little excitement to my otherwise monotonous life. I don’t know why I thought telling untruths and being sarcastic was so funny, but if you’d asked me why I was so dishonest back then, I’d have responded with, “why not?”.

But things change. I’m no longer in a state of mind where I feel the need to lie to myself, nor to others. Lying formerly served the purpose of getting me around the strict rules of my parents and other authority figures, but now it has no worthwhile benefit whatsoever.

Telling lies just increases the mental overhead your brain must endure to constantly hold together a fabricated story. When you commit to details that aren’t true to reality, you will have to be constantly on guard to actively reference the lie.

Stress is your brain’s arch nemesis and every lie you tell gets your brain one step closer to being man-handled.

I actively started practicing honesty about 3 years ago. I’d decided I couldn’t be a good boyfriend, or man if I ever told lies to my girlfriend at the time. Not the deepest resolution, but it was a good starting point. I found better ways to communicate, without warping my responses to stimulate the conversation. I picked up my fluency with conversational irony and sarcasm rather than relying on exaggeration (which is actually quite off-putting in conversation). Lies would slip out here and there, but I became better at catching myself and owning up for lies when it was a valid option.

Now I’m to the point where I have no desire to lie. It is because of my honesty that people are willing to listen. It is also better reason for my friends and acquaintances to trust me.

Even if you think nothing of it, telling the smallest lies can be costing you mentally. Is being dishonest really worth the effort? Some people rely on lies and manipulation to get ahead in life, but for others, honesty and truth can be twice as effective.

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