Why honesty is fundamentally important to be productive

First, let me be clear I am not talking about the moral dimension of lying or deceiving. This should be obvious anyway. In this post I tried to show why honesty is crucial for productivity and why it is fundamentally important to be honest to produce remarkable things.

Wikipedia defines honesty as:

Wikipedia: Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Furthermore, honesty means being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.

I think the definition hits it on the spot – especially as it includes integrity and sincerity. Maybe I would even add reliability. Let's see how this all plays into being productive.

It gives you peace of mind

Lying implies that you, sooner or later, will have to cover your lie with another one. You get deeper and deeper into a network of lies. It get's more and more complicated. You have to think constantly (even during a simple conversation) what you can say and what not. This draws a lot of energy, it adds unnecessary complexity to our life, and as a result, it destroys completely your piece of mind. As a consequence, your creative flow will be completely interrupted and your ability to focus will drop drastically.

People will trust you

If you are consistently honest, people will trust you. Everybody is looking for persons of integrity. We are naturally attracted by somebody who is sincere and trustworthy and we want to bond with them. Be such a person of trust and people will reach out to you. However, note that trust has to be earned. You have to be consistently honest in every situation. Trust can also be very fragile. A simple lie can destroy trust that have been built up over years.

Be completely honest and have integrity! These are extremely valuable traits and they will make you remarkable.

If people trust you, they want to work with you. This can increase your productivity drastically, especially, if they have expertise and/or knowledge you are (still) lacking. You can learn from them, grow and improve yourself. In addition, trust in you will get you a number of opportunities like offers for collaborations and jobs. People that trust you are more willing to help you.

Just ask yourself, would you prefer to work with somebody who is honest, or with somebody who might be more "important," but not trustworthy?

Being truly honest to yourself allows you to grow

Honesty is not just about your interaction with other people, it is also about being honest with yourself. This might be even the most important type of honesty. For example, If you have made an error, be honest about it. Don't blame others. If you are able to accept your own errors, your can act out of a position of strength. You can apologize and make a new start.

Making errors is not a problem. However, not being honest about them is a big problem.

Being honest with yourself means also that you assess your situation sincerely. "Getting Things Done" can help you to get an overview, but at the end you have to be honest about your capabilities and weaknesses. This lets you avoid overcommitment and, therefore, stress. You might do less, but better. Which in return will increase again the trust others have in you. Also, don't be blinded by praise from other people. Be honest about your deficiencies. Only if you know them, you can work on them. You can grow and get better. For example, one of my biggest problems was my lack of organization. However, realizing that I was able to do something about it. I searched for material (books, podcasts, videos, blogs, etc.) and I was able to learn and to improve. Believe me, I still have a whole list of deficiencies and I am aware of my lack of knowledge and experience in numerous fields. So, there is plenty of things to learn for me.

Try this: Think about, what are your deficiencies? Were do you lack experience or knowledge? Look for podcast, blogs, videos on YouTube, TED talk, blogs, etc. to help you to learn and improve.

It is not easy to be honest

It is not easy to be honest and to maintain integrity. It is not the easy way! That's exactly why we tend to be dishonest. We want to avoid the pain.

Remember, if you grow, you are changing – every change is painful.

However, on the long run being honest is much better and it gets easier and less painful, like everything that we practice. It helps you to avoid stress and will boost your productivity and creativity. Make a habit out of it!

Try this: Write down 1-2 sentences of a commitment to be completely honest and read it out aloud everyday before you go to bed, and right after getting up in the morning.

Let me know in the comments what your experiences were.

The not so fine line between honesty and disrespect

I believe most of you have understood, what I mean by being honest. If you think I suggest that we should tell everybody that they are stupid when they make an error, or that we should point out any weakness of other people, well, I think, then, you are not being honest with yourself.

Extra Material

Here is great episode from the awesome Get-It-Done-Guy Stever Robbins.

Work smart and be remarkable! Have a great day!