When you let your ego handle the talking, it’s easy to start exaggerating and bragging. But it’s a huge mistake if you ever want to gain authority and credibility. This happens a lot when you’re still unknown and trying to impress someone. Remember your last date?
But how will you sound when you’ve told someone that you’re a professional therapeutist and she finally realizes the truth—that you’re a bus driver, and your therapeutic expertise consists of reading Teach Yourself Zen Therapy in 21 Days (fictitious title) and half a dozen more volumes on health and zen. Don’t get me wrong; many teach-yourself courses out there are packed with valuable information that you can absorb for professional benefit. The problem is that you’re claiming to be someone you’re obviously not.
To avoid getting marked as a fraudster, you need to stop claiming that you’re an expert. Let others decide what you are. A good kung fu master will never proclaim himself as a master; the people who witness his profound teaching skills, form, or superiority in no-holds-barred battles decide if he is a master or still a beginner.
If you aren’t good at something, don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses. People respect honesty, and if you’re brave enough to disclose your bad characteristics, it’ll make you look even stronger because they will know that you at least have the guts to reveal your weaknesses.
The Benefits of Honesty
In what ways is it then favorable to be honest? Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects. (And, as always, I’d like to hear your ideas in the comments.)
- When you claim nothing, you don’t have to fear condemnation since you have nothing to prove.
- You will be remembered for your good deeds. If you call yourself a kung fu master, people will naturally expect you to possess supernatural abilities.
- You won’t be condemned (as harshly) when you blunder.
- People will evaluate you according to higher standards when you claim to be good at something. But if you proclaim nothing, they won’t have any false reference of you that would otherwise act against you.
Practice modesty and you don’t have to deal with the consequences of lying (because that’s what it is). Focus on improving yourself, and forget about letting others know about your knowledge and skills because they will notice eventually. When treading the path of humility, you will always be safe, and the world will look favorably upon you.