Scott’s Thoughts: Deeper Honesty

“The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted.”

-Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, German scientist, satirist.

Woman peering through magnifying glass.As you pursue goals in your life, you need to be capable of measuring your progress and understanding your processes. By hitting reasonable, achievable milestones, and revisiting and revising your methods, you ensure that your time is well-spent. Feedback in the form of an honest self-appraisal of your efforts and the outcome of those efforts allows you to make the adjustments required to keep your dreams on track. We all know that we’re happiest in pursuit of our goals.

But what happens when we fail to honestly assess our own efforts? What if we lack the courage to admit that our effort hasn’t been our best? In this situation, we suffer doubly: First, we continue to fail short of our dream. Second, we secretly know that we’re failing to truly own our progress, and thus suffer the resentment inherent in self-deception.

Yes, failure is an option. That’s the first thing you must understand. In fact, reframe failure in your mind as progress. Understanding where you have failed in the past means you’ll “fail better” in the future. If you can’t even admit you’re missing the mark, how will you ever improve?

To cultivate a deep self-honesty in your life, try to practice these five concepts:

1. Stop with excuses: While they may be comforting in the short term and help milk sympathy from strangers, owning your problems will empower you to begin fixing them.

2. Silence your inner critic: Accept who you are and what you’re up to. Don’t beat yourself up as much, but give yourself the permission to improve.

3. Abandon self-consciousness: Realize that no one is without flaws, no matter how you perceive them. Sometimes we’re dishonest with ourselves because we’re afraid of what others will think. Release some of your anxiety about how others will perceive your actions and you will, in turn, give yourself greater room to grow.

4. Cool off over conflict: A lot of energy and self-deception goes into “winning” arguments. When you’re tied to being right all of the time, you create barriers to self-honesty. Practice keeping a cool head and you’ll also be able to see things for what they are with greater accuracy.

5. Be open to your needs: Many times we deceive ourselves because we’re too proud to ask for help, or we’re too self-conscious about speaking our mind. If you can’t voice these needs, you feed the very mechanisms which distort your perception of the truth.

We all have enormous untapped potential. Give yourself permission to pursue it honestly.

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