Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Let the truth be told

Although we’re taught as children to always tell the truth, sometimes we find ourselves in positions where to tell the truth will be embarrassing for us. If you’ve ever been caught in a lie, as I have, you know how more embarrassing and humiliating it is when the truth does come out.

During the summers while I was in college I worked as a clerk at an investment bank on Wall Street. One day my boss asked me to look for a certain misplaced file. I checked everywhere except in one particular drawer. When my boss returned and asked if I’d found the file, I said no. And when he asked if I’d searched in that certain drawer, to save face I lied and said yes I did. He was sure it must be there so he looked and, you guessed it, there it was. I was ashamed, embarrassed and humiliated. But I also learned a lesson which has stayed with me all these years.

It can be hard to tell the truth but as certain politicians are learning, it’s better to be known for your mistakes and misdeeds than as a liar and someone in whom your constituents and colleagues cannot place their trust.

Sir Walter Scott said it best: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

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