honest

365 Challenge: Day 170 – Feedback

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Feedback: information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement

feedback

Feedback is often hard to accept, especially when someone suggests that you change something you are doing. Not many people are open-minded enough to truly look at the advice in a way that removes their personal feelings or emotions. It’s a process and learned skill that takes many years to fine-tune in order to make the best of the situation.

When I was younger, I had a hard time accepting any sort of feedback — either good or bad. I had a habit of immediately feeling threatened, which often resulted in my opinion of the person who had been sharing his/her thoughts suddenly being knocked down a few pegs. I often thought I was always right and that other people didn’t understand me. It’s a common reaction to hearing any sort of potential negative response, even if it’s presented as constructive criticism. This carried over into my first few years as a manager of employees. When it came to review time, I tended to mark someone higher than they were in fear I’d hurt their feelings. After the second round of performance appraisals, it suddenly dawned on me: if you don’t tell the person what’s wrong, it will not get any better. And if it doesn’t get any better, then it will become an even larger problem that you try to cover up because you missed it the first time. Wrong Reaction!

Feedback is important, whether it’s positive or negative. There are tons of studies on the right way to present it, as well as the wrong way. Since I’m not going to include intelligent reports here, because I’m lazy, this is really only my opinion. But I’m certain it’s right. {Aside: Shh… I told you earlier, I no longer think I’m always right. I now know it! OK… just kidding, in case you’re new to my blog and don’t yet fully understand my brand of humor…} I try to balance the positive and the negative feedback when I critique other people’s efforts or share an opinion on what they have chosen to do. I do it for a few reasons, but mostly it’s because that’s how I like to receive feedback.

No one is perfect. Everything can always be a little bit better. Doesn’t mean it should be. But there’s room for improvement and it often takes another set of eyes to shed light on it. No matter how many times I taste a meal that I’ve made over and over again, there is something I can do to make it even better. As much as I re-work a paragraph in my novel to the point I feel like it’s brilliant, there is another way of saying the same thing that is just a little bit better than my draft. These are good things. Not bad things. Life is not about achieving perfection. It’s also not about achieving “good enough,” in case that’s where you thought I might be going. It’s about finding the middle ground where you, as the creator or the person doing the task, can feel pride and joy over your accomplishments.

As I matured and researched the ways to give and receive feedback, I found my own happy medium for the approach. I share all the things I like. I share a few things I see that could be received differently (either positively or negatively) by others with a different perspective. I share a couple of things I’d suggest doing in a better way. But I also explain why, how I could be wrong and how I could be right. It’s not my decision and I’m not the authority, but it’s my personal opinion and only something the receiver should “take into consideration.” It goes hand-in-hand with my own belief not to intrude in someone else’s life for any reason. I will tell them if I think they’re doing something that could hurt them or another person, but beyond that, it’s unfair to put my expectations on another person’s life, beliefs, choices, actions or opinions. Feedback is simply a way of sharing an alternative way of doing something.

When you ask for feedback, it’s imperative that you go into it knowing you might not like the responses you get back. If you can’t accept that, maybe you shouldn’t ask for feedback. I’ve chosen on occasion not to ask for feedback because I wasn’t ready to hear the constructive criticism. It was about me. Not about the person sharing his/her feelings. That’s the important part — you have to be in a place to both share and receive the feedback, as it’s not a one-way street. When someone says “I didn’t like this because of “x” reason, it needs to be explored. Perhaps through discussion, one of both parties involved will change their opinion by learning additional information. This is why I generally prefer interactive feedback, as it is a chance to give a full-circle review and discussion so that feelings may be less hurt, ideas may be more open and change might be better accepted.

Now that I don’t have a ‘boss’ looking over my shoulder every day, I have to ask for feedback, as opposed to receiving it through normal or natural means. It can be hard to ask someone to give you honest feedback, but if you don’t have the strength to ask for it, then you might not have the strength to receive it. As I move forward with getting my edits back from the publisher next week, I am realizing that is my next real round of feedback. It’ll be the last stop before the novel is completed and put in the hands of readers to decide how and when to review my work. And that will bring another whole round of feedback, which could be good and it could be bad. It took me a while to accept it, and I’m still not 100% comfortable, but I know if it goes poorly, there will be something to learn from it that needs to be considered before I move forward with another step.

When I get to the crux of it all, the secret to accepting feedback is learning how to give feedback. Once you find the words to tell someone how they are doing, you also learn how to interpret when someone is sharing feedback with you. The key is to listening, not just hearing what they say. Recognize the words. Understand the choices they made with how they told you. Figure out what it means from your perspective and their perspective. And in the middle somewhere, sometimes closer to them, sometimes closer to you, is an answer where you can feel pride and joy.

How are you at accepting feedback? Sharing your opinion with others? Do you balance the good and the bad? Or do you tend to shy away from anything negative?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 118 – Perceptive

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Perceptive: having or showing keenness of insight, understanding, or intuition

perceptive

We often claim to be perceptive, to read beneath the surface of someone’s actions and expressions, so that we can determine the true underlying emotions in others. I have found myself feeling perceptive in many situations, focusing on the tone of the person’s voice, the location of their eyes, or the amount of details they choose to reveal or hide. I take in the full picture of everything I can in the hopes it will help me understand the best way to respond to the conversation or situation. This is a good thing, as it makes you more intuitive and capable of developing a stronger relationship with that person or eliciting a better outcome. But that’s not the only way to be perceptive. There’s at least one other tool at our disposal, and this one is something I find myself often getting caught up in:

Are you perceptive when looking at yourself — able to understand how others see you?

Now that can be tough. Sometimes our emotions block the truth. Often our sentiments escape with an unexpected volatility. Usually we’re not focused on what others think, but on how we’re feeling about the situation. Many times we ponder our actions rather than our lack of actions. And that’s the part I often find myself forgetting to consider. I focus on listening or talking, but not understanding and interacting. And there’s a difference in those behaviors.

  • When you listen, you take in the information. You can nod, reach your hand out to comfort someone or give them a hug. But when you understand, you put yourself in that person’s shoes and question how it would make you feel, think or act. Then you determine why the person behaved the way (s)he did. And you choose how you want to respond, often leading to a more connected and powerful outcome.
  • Talking with/to someone is conversational and helpful when you are in an initial get-to-know-you phase. You can bounce ideas back and forth, explain what happened in the past or suggest something new. But when you interact, you immerse yourself in the conversation, showing the other person how and why you care, the level you’ve committed yourself to in the conversation and provide insight into where it may go next.

So why am I saying this? What does it have to do with being perceptive? For me, it’s one and the same. When I am involved in a conversation, be it electronic, video, on the phone or in person, I always try to think about how I am being perceived. I try not to be casual. Casual to me, while having its place at appropriate times, is not a comfortable feeling. I would rather have a strong connection with only a few people than a weak one with a lot of people. And building those connections requires effort, which almost always includes being perceptive about the other person. It applies to so many things in our lives:

  • Dating
  • Interviews
  • Social Media
  • Conflict
  • Debates

And it makes me wonder how I am perceived to others. Have you ever taken 30 minutes to reflect on your behavior, tone, body language, word choice, volume of voice or the time you give someone in a conversation? To understand what someone else might think about you? I do a lot. I do this when I meet new people. I do this when I chat online with people I’ve never met. I do this when I am trying to help someone through a difficult situation. I think it’s important to let others know, through each of these aspects of your interpersonal skills and relationship, where you stand in the greater scheme of things.

When I step back and think about how I am perceived, and how I want to be perceived, there are a few areas I need to work on. A few examples:

  • I feel repetitive when I reply to people on social media because I often might be in a rush to respond and choose the quickest words that come to mind. Maybe I should step back and wait to comment until I have some free moments without interruption to put proper effort into building new relationships.
  • I am a multi-tasker by nature. When on the phone, I often am doing two or three other things. I’m sure I’ve been slow to respond or didn’t pick up on the other person’s hidden messages. I might need to step back in what could be a sensitive or important conversation and give my full attention.
  • I tend to be the one to let others do the talking. Perhaps that’s letting other people think I am not interested by failing to ask questions. I should push myself to re-balance that scale with other people.

Why did this come up today? Two reasons: (1) I’ve been talking a lot lately about “me” or “I,” and realized it in a recent conversation with someone else, and (2) I’m starting to put more of myself out there with the 2nd book I’m writing, the increase in social media and the number of people I’m becoming friendly with from my blog. I will need to find the right balance between quality and quantity, as well as ensure I’m being perceived in the way I want to be perceived. I want to be seen as a genuine and open-minded individual who is unafraid to share myself and learn about others. I want depth in my relationships. I want people to turn to me when they need a respected sounding board. I hope people find intense creativity and honest thoughts in my writing. I don’t want to be thought of as boring or ineffective. I choose to be someone others look to as a role model across so many aspects of life.

How about you? How do you think you are being perceived today? Would you change anything? Or do you not feel this is something to focus on in your world? …which is totally fine… not everyone is so caught up in what others think of them as I am… sometimes it’s good to just do what you think is right and let others react as they choose!

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Claire @ BrizzleLass Books. And the topic at hand in the challenge is completely disconnected from Claire, but I wanted to tell everyone about her today as she’s a phenomenal person to know. Claire and I met through WordPress about 3 months ago and soon after followed one another on Twitter, Goodreads and probably a few other sites. She’s a very strong blogger and has a great social media presence. I’m constantly finding new things to look into via her Twitter feed, as she is very friendly and helpful to all her followers and those people she’s gotten to know. It’s a bit funny as her two primary genres are fantasy and romance, which are the two I know the least about; yet, we’ve found a bunch of books in common and have built a great online friendship. She lives in my favorite country (can you guess which one?) and has a really witty tone in all her posts and conversations. I enjoy chatting with her each day, even if it’s just a quick hello or a lengthier discussion about mental health, inspiration and life choices. Plus, you have to love the colorful posts and pictures she releases. Go check out her site and meet a new friend who will be a good person to know in this blogging world.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 89 – Humble

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Humble: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance

humility.jpg

In my apartment, there are 2. In my building, surely hundreds. On my block, thousands. In my neighborhood, perhaps one hundred thousand. In my city, a few million. In my state, probably twenty million. In my country, over three hundred million. On my continent, nearly six hundred million. And on my planet, there must be seven billion. People. I am 1 person. There will always be a reason to be humble.

The word humble has two parts to it, at least from my viewpoint. There is how you feel about yourself and how you feel about others. Both are separate and distinct, yet they are very connected in how you interpret this powerful characteristic. Let’s start with a focus on others.

  • People often say they feel humbled by witnessing another’s selfless actions
  • Seeing someone do or share something beautiful without any expectation in return is a humbling experience
  • Understanding the achievements of those with little demonstrates humility at its core

And when it comes to your own humility:

  • Recognition of the value you bring without overselling or highlighting it to others
  • Stepping aside for others when you feel they’re more deserving
  • Content with the simplicity of what life offers without a reliance on always reaching for more

Those are the things that come to mind when I think of my definition of someone who is humble. To me, a humble person doesn’t ever think about whether they have true humility. It’s a natural essence that materializes about them, not unlike an effervescence or glow from something that shines or bubbles. Innate. Inherent. Honest.

A quick trip through the land of InterWebs brings an article I found interesting. You can see it via the link, but I’ve listed just below the seven qualities that the humble exude.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/benefits-of-humility_n_5578881.html

  • Focus their energy on others
  • Conscientious
  • Moral compass guides decision-making
  • See happiness as a journey
  • Excel as leaders
  • Know good things lie ahead and are okay waiting for them
  • Have strong relationships

Rather than dissect each one to determine if I am humble, I’m going on instinct with this one. I am not nearly as humble a person as I should be. I certainly exhibit some of these qualities, a few to a lesser extent that the others; however, a humble (wo)man should not ask how to be more humble. It should just happen as though the inner guidepost deep within your body and mind takes you to the destination.

This is a journey I believe in. When I look around and see all that we’ve achieved, I am humbled to witness the strengths of others before me, beside me and in front of me. I included no GIFs in today’s post, as I want it to speak for itself. I am one (wo)man. I am grateful for those who show us how to be more humble. Thank you.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 34 – Judgmental

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Judgmental: having or displaying an excessively critical point of view

Today is gonna be a tough one… while I will be honest in everything I include in my post, I wonder (now as I begin writing this) how much I will actually reveal versus holding back any thoughts. I know I shouldn’t hold back, but conveying what one means without looking like a jerk, in a small amount of words on these posts, is difficult.

Judgmental could mean biased. Judgmental could mean racist. Judgmental could mean critical. In sticking with the definition I first found when I went to Google, I will address my nature to be critical… perhaps excessively critical… when it comes to standards. While I am very impartial when it comes to listening and hearing people out before I make decisions, there is a part of me that is very judgmental when it comes to comparing someone else to myself. And to be honest, it is probably my absolute worst characteristic.

Ever since I was a small boy, I have had incredibly high standards for most things in my life. I’ve also allowed those expectations and standards to be applied to the people in my life, whether you are a close friend or family member, a colleague, or someone new I meet. Having high standards is a good thing most of the time. But unfortunately, I often set the standard so high that few, if any, can meet it. And we all know that leads to disappointment… and judgment. My philosophy had always been you should do what I want and I should do what you want. Whaaaat??????

Over the years, I’ve whittled down this trait; however, many years ago, as the perfectionist I was (am?), I felt I could do no wrong and I was the best. I was not my school’s valedictorian. I did not win major awards. So Captain Obvious should have known better. But when it came to behaviors… to being fair, kind, consistent, thoughtful, orderly, structured, engaged… I always thought I knew best. And I wouldn’t stop there. In my head, never outwardly to someone, I’d silently judge others for not living up to those high standards and expectations. My thought pattern: “If I can do it this way, and I know better, so should you.” What an A$$hole I could be!

I’d like to say it was in the vain of wanting people to be the best, and maybe it is now; however, in the past, a small part of me was happy to know that I did something better and that I had achieved a higher sphere of thinking. Sick, I know. I’d slap myself for you, if I could. But in my defense, I really tried to do the right thing and be as good as I could be, and I also wanted everyone else to be that way, too. It wasn’t purely a negative aspect… I was critical because I cared enough to want things to be right. Or “right” as in how I saw them. Wasn’t always reality.

It certainly made things difficult for me. Relationships ended. Or never began. I’d meet someone, start talking, (s)he’d say something I thought was wrong and I was done. I’d judged the person over minutia.

Perhaps he said he didn’t like mystery books. Or she said she’d never go to Hawaii. Silly little things, snap judgment on my part… and I’d move on. And in a relationship, if the other person didn’t have an equal level of contribution, or perhaps dated more people in the past than I had… I was super critical over the whole thing. Few could meet my standards.

My mother called me out for this a lot. She’d tell me I’d end up alone if I couldn’t learn to be tolerant and forgive. If I couldn’t be more open-minded about people’s different ways of doing things. She’d throw 1 or 2 things at me that I’d done incredibly wrong or when I’d been foolish… helping me realize I wasn’t all that perfect.

As the years have gone by, I am a lot less judgmental. But there’s still part of me that will have an immediate reaction to something, and because it’s different than what I believe or know, I am critical and judgmental of them or the situation. Admitting it has been good for me. Recognizing my faults has been helpful. Growing older can make you less sensitive over these things. In the end, I leave this post with one thought for which I could be judged.

Despite everything I’m saying and that I’ve learned, I am still judgmental over certain things. And as hard as I’ve controlled my thoughts and reactions, keeping them internal now, I am still embarrassed over it. But I am smart enough to know it is a small piece of who I am, and over time, it becomes less and less. Yet even more importantly, I am not a hypocrite — as there is no one I am more critical over than myself. And since I fairly dish out that judgment equally to myself and others, perhaps it’s not so bad if I hold myself to the same standards as I hold everyone else:

“Be good people. Do unto others as you would want done on to you. Apply the Golden Rule.”

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

365 Challenge: Day 15 – Sarcastic

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Sarcastic: marked by or given to using irony in order to mock or convey contempt

There aren’t many good images for “sarcastic,” but I was able to find this one. I liked that it should have said “sometimes I’m asleep” or “sometimes I’m sleeping,” but doesn’t!

Today’s characteristic is an unusual one. By true definition, I am absolutely not sarcastic, as when I exhibit the behavior I’m thinking of, it never comes from contempt. My brand of sarcasm is always humorous, and either meant to fill in a gap in silent conversation or an attempt to be funny and show my affection.

I’ve never intended to use contempt; I actually don’t condone that behavior. If you truly dislike something or someone, have unadulterated hatred or anger over it, figure out how to deal with it in a positive way. Don’t take it out on another person. Try to explain to someone why you are angry, figure out a way to fix the situation or convince them what they’ve done is wrong. But don’t ever mock them or physically hurt them because you don’t like what they’ve done (unless you’re trying to stop them from being violent, etc.).

Back to sarcasm. To be sarcastic, you need to be witty and timely. You need to know when to repeat versus leave it at one brief line and let the humor unfold all on its own. My sarcasm often comes out when someone asks me a question that opens an opportunity for me to provide the ultimate silly or stupid answer, thus bringing about a moment of laughter and connection.

Often on the receiving end of my sarcasm is my mother. I love to respond with slightly sarcastic answers to basic questions. For example, when she comes over for lunch and asks what time we’re eating, my response would be, “as soon as you leave, I’ll probably have some lunch. By the way, how long do you plan to stay today?” Or if she wants to know what I’m looking for in the bookstore, I’ll say: “Not sure. Something with words on paper, most likely.” And we’ll banter for a few seconds, get a good laugh, and move on.

Actually, thinking about my history of being sarcastic, the person on the receiving end is almost always the 3 or 4 people I’m closest to… parents, partner, best friend… how interesting it should be those you love!

As I write this, and truly think about the definition, maybe I’m not sarcastic. I wouldn’t call myself witty. Perhaps I’m sassy? Although, sassy to me implies a much more boisterous tone, and I’m anything but boisterous. Any suggestions for the best trait to use here? <i>I’m sure someone as literate and intelligent as anyone, like you, reading my blog must know the word I’m trying to use…<i/>

I think about the people I’ve interacted with over my time and don’t really ever recall being on the other end of the someone’s sarcasm. I tend to not engage with people who come across mean-spirited or contemptuous, unless there is humor attached to it. Humor helps ease the situation, ensure words aren’t bitter, or as bitter as they could be taken.

People often use sarcasm as a way to avoid the truth or intimacy, a detraction from something they are uncomfortable with. I’ve done that a few times. Someone asks a question that requires you to reveal or respond in a way you would prefer not to. So you deflect with a sarcastic comment and hope to end the conversation. It’s rare I will use it, as I believe I mentioned very early on in these daily challenges that I am honest, and prefer to just say what I’m thinking. But sometimes you just don’t want to engage in a specific conversation for any number of reasons.

If someone often brings up a negative item (constantly referring to themselves as overweight or not intelligent, etc.), and you’ve tried to convince them otherwise many times before, sarcasm may come into play. You can change the topic, or say something sarcastic about yourself to level-set the conversation and hope it moves on. Not in any grand manner, but in the hopes you don’t have to repeat prior discussions or soothe someones mind yet another time. I don’t mean this to be insensitive, but you can only help someone else as much as (s)he is willing to be helped and you are educated.

So… sarcasm can be a handy tool for good reasons, which perhaps means I am considered sarcastic. Ugh, I’m just talking to myself on this one. Like you’d know, right?

365 Challenge: Day 2 – Honesty

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Honesty: free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere

Being honest is almost always the only proper route in life. On rare occasions will I find it acceptable to be less than honest. It’s innate, at least in me, and I think in most people, that the honest response or answer is the first one (s)he thinks of; however, the degree to which they debate following through on the honesty is what differs among us.

I’m sure I was taught as a child that “honesty is the best policy,” whether it was in school or at home. I don’t exactly remember this conversation other than hearing about it in classic 1950s and 1960s TV shows and the occasional movie where someone is trying to coax a child to tell the truth. But even if I weren’t actually taught this message, it seems like the right thing to do. If not, everything would be more like a treacherous game than a way of life. Let’s all play some Game of Thrones today! Russian Roulette is the new mantra. NOT!

I can recall a few moments when I wasn’t 100% honest; told you in my 365 intro I intend to tell both the good and the bad!

  • I know I was obsessed with Legos and took a few home with me from a friend’s house one time. I claimed I didn’t know what happened to them, but I clearly remember thinking “these aren’t mine” when they “fell” into my Lego box. I’m not exactly sure why, other than Legos brought me great pleasure and offered an escape from other things in my life (no, nothing bad… I was just a very shy kid).
  • I’ve told someone (on a few occasions) I’d been dating that I wasn’t attracted to someone else when I knew I was. And yes, in the past, I did cross a line many years ago that I should not have crossed. I was bad. I admit it. But I learned from it and I eventually confessed. You can choose to dislike it or me, and I don’t blame you. But we all live in a glass house at some point, and we’ve all thrown the stones when we knew we shouldn’t.
  • I’ve made up plans when I didn’t feel like going out with someone else. I truly just needed down time… and didn’t want to offend the person or have them think I didn’t like them. They would be persistent if I just said I didn’t “want” to go out.

OK, so none of those are all that bad (e.g. murder, marital affair, bullying). But I had an opportunity to tell the truth, and I chose not to. Sometimes, I’m afraid of hurting another person’s feelings. Sometimes it would lead to a far worse situation to be honest, and it’s easier to just tell the white lie to end the immediate issue. Are these acceptable situations?

For the most part, I think they are. If the truth will hurt someone’s feelings, but the lie will avoid a problem – and it is short-term and not impactful – it may be the best course of action. Why tell a friend their new haircut looks bad when it will be fine in a few days? Perhaps if they are going on a date or a job interview, don’t let them suffer a longer-term impact. Bite the bullet, tell them it’s awful and deal with the short-term impacts.

If you’re thinking about cheating, hmm… that’s a tough one. Do you hide it until you know you want to, or do you risk saying “I thought about Person X” to the person you are dating and have them prematurely leave you? I choose not to answer that question because I think the answer lies in the strength of your relationship; you should be working towards a solidarity that can withstand admitting you find someone else attractive. It’s when you choose to act on it that the line has been crossed. Subjectivity in this level of honesty in the important message.

But on the good side, honesty is really the only way to exist. It’s an example of how to level-set the playing field. When you are dishonest, everything that happens afterwards will immediately be suspect. Take the example of someone who lies on their resume or in an interview to get a job. Perhaps the less qualified candidate will get the job due to this lie. But eventually, it’s a high probability (s)he will be found out and either lose their job or be reprimanded. That addresses the situation for the liar, but what about the person impacted by that lie? (S)he didn’t get the job, which may have been a career changer for the future. Where does that leave him or her? Note: I’m not getting into fate and sometimes it’s necessary to lose one thing to set you on the path to what you are really destined for… that’s another topic! Yikes… these challenges might be harder than I thought. Morality exists everywhere!

And so, when I look at honesty, it’s a scale heavily waited to 99% of the time, i.e. it is required. Dishonesty should only be reserved for those moments when you’ve weighed the options and the impacts of that decision are not harmful to anyone, or are less harmful than the alternative.

That said, many readers are probably thinking “he’s so wrong… you should never lie… what do we tell our children…” You tell them the truth. You provide examples, you teach them about cause and effect, you explain the impacts with either decision. Not when they are 2 or 3 or 4, but when they are mature enough to understand.

That doubly said, I RESPECT those who ALWAYS tell the truth, no matter the impact. Perhaps they are too blunt. Perhaps they are inconsiderate. Perhaps they are rude. But they are honest and you will always know what to expect from them. And being consistent is one of those really extremely important things to be. And that will be tomorrow’s characteristic!

The Challenge: 365 Days of Discovery – Who am I?

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How often do we take the time to truly understand who we are and what we want from life? Some of us more than others, but in general, we exert very little energy and patience devoted to truly touching the surface of each component of our existence.

And so… perhaps because I have a birthday this week… or maybe it’s finding a plethora of free time on my hands… or by chance it’s that my mind is more relaxed and open these days… I am putting forth a challenge to myself:

365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life. I will post a characteristic about myself and reflect on it in a blog post for the next 365 days: a full year of discovery into directing the course of my future.

I suppose some could find this indulgent. Believe I am just talking about myself for the sake of hearing myself talk. But it’s not about hearing; it’s about listening. I intend to cover the good and the bad. The areas I excel and the areas I need help.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor.

When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life.

All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man.

Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

And fair for all to comment. Let’s click to the first post.