I recently revisited the movie Interstellar and there’s a dialogue between Cooper and Tars which goes something like this:
Cooper: Hey TARS, what’s your honesty parameter
TARS: 90 percent.
Cooper: 90 percent?
TARS: Absolute honesty isn’t always the most diplomatic nor the safest form of communication with emotional beings.
Cooper: Okay, 90 percent it is.
It caught my attention and got me thinking in multiple ways. I find TARS absolutely charming and genuinely fun in the movie. If you’ve seen the film, you may remember the above scene. It got me thinking about the way we conduct our relationships, whether personally or professionally. We often alter the way we think and feel in our hearts, for whatever reasons, and become dishonest in our responses. How many times have you questioned yourselves if “honesty is the best policy?” This is one statement that has been told to us since we were kids. We might have even followed it when we were young but wonder what happens to us as we grow up.
Well, what if I were to tell you that you could get your way around situations without being dishonest? I’m here to get you out of that sticky situation where you feel obliged to not speak your mind and heart. Here are five factors for you to consider:-
- Aim to build the trust, first: Trust can never be built on lies. Well, try and imagine that one friend or person who might have lied (white or otherwise) to you and you’d have found out, could you again trust the person in the same regard? It is not that you can’t regain the trust, however, it is really difficult. Trust can only be formed when you are true to yourself, understand yourself better and communicate that most humbly.
- Speak your mind & heart, cogently: Well, like TARS, I have my settings for honesty at 90%. I am not perfect but I do try to get better each day. I know that I do need to withhold certain information from others, but largely, if I don’t want to lie, I do not speak. I prefer to communicate only things, which I am comfortable talking about and simply say NO when or if I’m uncomfortable. A lot of people try to lease or oblige and end up lying or thinking they might be judged. Rather avoid it altogether by genuinely letting the other person know what you feel in the situation. It could be at work or in life, always genuinely speak your mind and heart. It is difficult at first, however, you wouldn’t want to budge once you start doing that.
- Choose to keep a 90:10 honesty ratio: Truly, do hold information that is extremely personal to you. You don’t need to discuss if you don’t want to. However, make it a rule that 90% of the times you would be diplomatically honest and if at al, 10% you may not be. What it really means is that your response needs to be finely calibrated, you can round off all the edges.
- Learn diplomacy in your text, speech, and non-verbal communications: Diplomacy is definitely learned (more on that in my newsletter). It is crucial to be diplomatic but please don’t confuse lies with diplomacy. You can be forthright and be communicating diplomatically when you express your opinions politely, yet humbly.
- Be open to vulnerability: Now this can be a win-win situation. But you need to be alright with sharing your situations, humbly, modestly and even speaking your mind. When you do share your situations genuinely, no matter how good or bad, people will be receptive to your vulnerable situation. Always remember, you cannot change the person but you can change your own self. Don’t hurt but don’t just put yourselves out there. It is OK to be vulnerable for you and for someone else as well. This thought could allow you to view the situations more empathetically.
Now, you tell me: Have you struggled to express yourself freely? Do the above bullets resonate with you? Perhaps you have a different point of view? I want to read your thoughts in the comments below.
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