This conversation is closed.

Is it practical to be Honest?

Dishonesty is everywhere. Personal temptation, pressure to maximize profits, pressure from others, culture, and environment seem to encourage 'lying'. Dishonesty may be described in terms that sound less morally offensive. Cheating and lying become "cutting corners" or "being competitive."

Many claim that being dishonest is necessary for success.

So in todays day and age, is it practical to be honest? Is honesty the best policy?

Closing Statement from W T

While we all want to be honest, the truth is, that truth hurts.

Some see honesty as not practical. They feel it gets in the way of quiet peaceful relationships.

In business, some use dishonesty to get ahead, risking their professional reputation.

In the end, though, I, along with others feel Honesty IS the best policy, and very practical to those whose life is governed by some sort of value system.

Thank you for participating.

  • thumb
    Dec 6 2011: Honesty is necessary for close trusting relationships. You alone must decide how close and how trusting you wish your relationships to be. Honesty is the path that I choose for those reasons. There is a difference between brutal honesty and kindness however.
    • thumb
      Dec 6 2011: So true Debra.

      I think Mark Twain also put it well: "When in doubt, tell the truth."
      • Dec 6 2011: Nice quote Mr. Colgan.

        I remember the one that goes: "When in doubt, do without."

        Thank you for contributing:)
    • Dec 6 2011: Yes Debra, being honest doesn't mean you are going to be brutal. As in telling your friend she looks stupid in those sunglasses, or she chews like a cow. That is were the qualities of being tactful and discreet come in.

      Thank you for your comment:)
  • thumb
    Dec 6 2011: Practical means useful, productive measures used in actual practice.
    Is honesty a useful, productive measure? Absolutely yes!
    Is dishonesty a useful, productive measure? Absolutely yes! (It proved very productive for all the salesmen who sold me the useless products I have collected over the years).
    Which is the best policy? George Bernard Shaw said, "We must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy." Mark Twain said it was the best policy. . . when there is money in it!
    I believe it is the best policy. Good question, Mary, thanks.
    • Dec 6 2011: Mr. Long, I also agree that it is the best policy. In the business world dishonest practices are deemed necessary (practical) in order to have a successful business. When in fact, dishonesty is frequently self-defeating.

      I've always thought that in business, as in every day life, integrity and honesty generates trust, an essential ingredient for long-term success., in business, or in relationships.

      Recently we had trouble with our shower and called on a plumber. He took everything apart, scratched his head and asked us what room if any lied behind the bathroom wall. Right away bells and whistles went off in my head. As he talked to my husband about how he would have to break down the wall and retile our bathroom, I was in another room googling my bathroom issue. The solution: $3.79 part from home depot, + $10 for a strap wrench. After cordially escorting the plumber out, we fixed the problem ourselves with the help of the youtube video we found.

      Our reputation for honesty affects our success-whether we are aware of it or not. The plumber who came to our home will not be coming again, neither will he benefit from our referring others to him.

      Although we cannot control honesty in others, we can, if we are people with integrity, be honest ourselves. Then we will always benefit from a restful night's sleep, because as the French proberb says: "The best pillow is a clean conscience".

      Thank you for your contribution.
  • Dec 6 2011: This is a goo topic (honestly =)

    "Dishonesty is everywhere"
    I think it depends on where you live. Some places you see huge corruption and everyone pays the prices in terms of economic loses and demotivation.

    "Many claim that being dishonest is necessary for success."
    First it depends what you consider success. Personally I don't think that is true and in the long run dishonesty can hurt you. You also have to ask yourself whether you want to be fair to others or pretend to be something better when being dishonest in order to forward your goals.

    "Is honesty the best policy?"
    Personally I believe honesty, in majority of cases, is the best policy both at work and at home. That does not mean that you are dishonest when you time your honest feedback for the right time or avoid certain discussions.

    cheers
    • Dec 6 2011: Zdenek thanks for your reply.

      "Dishonesty is everywhere"
      How can you say it depends on where you live? People lie.....regardless of where they live. Students cheat on tests, husbands and wives cheat on each other, merchants tip the scales at markets, and so called spiritual leaders fleece millions out of their flock. Politicians lie to get elected into public office..and they will even lie after getting elected....."I did not inhale!!!!" Come on, you have to admit, "Dishonesty is everywhere!!"

      That being said, is honesty the best policy? Well in my opinion, it is to people who are integral. Who want to be trusted and have a clean conscience. I'm sure a thief, or a drug dealer, or dare I say it....a politician is looking at the end results...they don't care how they get it. Even in the scientific community there have been scandals because of tampering with the data or falsifying evidence.

      Then their is dishonesty by omission......you answer the question, but do not state all the facts, or lead your listener to jump to a conclusion that is totally wrong. You did not lie, but you know perfectly well that you were manipulating information.

      And I very much agree with your last statement, that sometimes we have to time our honest feedback for the right time or avoid certain discussions. That my dear Zdenek is being discreet. Which you appear to be.

      Be well, and thank you for your contribution.
      • Dec 7 2011: Mary in my opinion dishonesty varies. Please let me explain why I think so.

        Yes people lie and there will always be exceptions. However if you look at general population of certain places, effects like culture (whether it is ok or not to lie) and general education has impact on how honest people are.

        The more dishonesty and disregard for others the more you will see corruption of politicians and companies. Compare, for example, Philippines and Canada and you will notice a huge difference. Philippines lost billions of dollars because of corruption and dishonesty. Of course some corruption and dishonesty exists in Canada as well but on much smaller scale?

        Cheers
        • Dec 7 2011: I see what you mean Zdenek.

          It's like trying to get a passport in some countries. You have to pay each of the people you come across under the table in order to get the passport (Which I have personally witnessed) or your paperwork will get lost. But here in the US you go to the post office, fill out an application, send your fee, and a few weeks later you have your passport.....you don't have to bribe people along the way.

          I understand what you are saying, and I agree.
          How is it that nothing has been done about this situation?. Do you think there is a solution?

          Be well.
  • thumb
    Dec 5 2011: if your an entrprenuer YES! being competely honest all the time is the only way to make sure your problems dont compound and you maintain your credibility. if you work for someone it may seem like telling your boss what he wants to hear is the best thing to do. But, i always try to be completely honest with my supervisor, especially when he's expecting to hear something else. when your consistently honest, they'll trust you more. they wont micromanage, theyll respect your space. if you mess up, stand proud when you admit it to your boss. tell him exactly how you messed up and what you've considered doing and what youve decided to do to fix it. this works for me, but i think there are alot of work places that honesty WOULDNT work in. in fast paced jobs or low skill jobs there isnt much room to mess up so if you do mess up sometimes its best downplay and use resources other than your supervisors to control the problem :/
    • Dec 6 2011: Your boss must love you Julius!

      However, I disagree, with your last point, I feel honesty works in all places. However the honest cannot control the dishonest.

      Here's my work experience. I once worked for a gentleman doing international business. He had no idea what kind of person I was until the following happened: The phone rang, he shouted, tell whoever it is that I am not in the office. I said, but you're here. I can say you're busy and take a message if you'd like, but I will not lie. He had a choice....fire me, go with my suggestion, or.......what he ended up doing. He stepped out of the office and down to the kitchen area. He did this just so I could say he was not in!!! I learned alot about who my boss was at that moment, and he learned alot about me. At the end of the day, he gave me the keys to the office, and trusted me with personal matters that he needed to keep private. He knew he could trust me, and I never let him down.

      Even though some people choose to lie, I think many admire those of us who choose to be honest and forthcoming with information. We don't have a hidden agenda and we relish truth, and they know there exists one person in their life they can TRUST.

      Thanks for your contribution:)
  • Dec 9 2011: Your example with passport is what I am referring to.

    What can be done about this situation? I think the most important is to increase education of people about ethics etc and ensure the system is fair (because people start to be dishonest if they feel nothing is fair). Also enforcement of laws and regulations needs to be effective.

    Cheers