The Adventure of the Truth

The Adventure of the Truth

The Adventure of Truth

Someone very wise recently told me that there are no new ideas to be had in this world. So today, I’ll ponder one of the oldest ideas known to humanity: truthfulness. For millennia, humans have waxed poetically about the essence of truth. It’s exhilarating to witness the evolution of such a complex and nuanced concept throughout the development of civilization, spanning from the greatest philosophers of history to the most commonplace daytime TV shows.

In the Classical Era, Greek Stoic Philosophers defined truthfulness as a guiding principle in the quest for a good life. Modern teachings often speak of truthfulness as a relationship to one’s word. The Landmark Forum teaches that being your word means telling the truth, they claim that there is no greater relationship in this world than the one you hold with your word. They emphasize that being truthful with oneself and others is essential for living a life of integrity, where words and actions are in alignment.

Jordan Peterson suggests that if you tell the truth, life will take you on a grand adventure. Yet, there can be no scarier task than being honest with oneself and those around you. It involves sharing truths that others may not want to hear, despite potential rejection. Our lies act as shields, protecting us from real rejection. When we present our authentic selves to the world and face rejection, it stings in an indescribable way.

It’s easy to tell a lie and avoid pain. One can deceive others to get their way, agreeing here, omitting there, or laughing at unfunny jokes. Lies come in small, easy-to-digest pieces, rationalized to achieve short-term gains. These lies get you promotions, great jobs, sales and maybe even the partner of your dreams. But staying on this path also means waking up one day with the realization you never truly stated who you or what you stand. It means living a life where you bite your tongue, where you pretend to be things just to get along with others who wouldn’t agree with your real opinion.

All of the pain and loss one avoids with white lies and clever omissions of truths pales in comparison to the realization that hits you at 50 when you realize that you’ve spent a lifetime telling people what they want to hear. 

I don’t always make perfect decisions or speak without hesitation—it’s a work in progress. But in every interaction, I strive to say what I mean, knowing the risks. Each time I express my thoughts honestly, I risk rejection or disagreement. 

But why take this risk? Why not lie and manage relationships to simply get along?

Well the risks are awful. First of all, when you tell somebody you are angry frustrated or upset, 90% of the time they are going to walk away. You’ll be left on the outside, feeling shocked, hurt and very much alone. But every once in a while you’ll state your truth and the person on the other end sees and likes who you are. Those very few people are picking up what you are putting down. With these few people you can be wonderfully flawed. In the light of that person’s shadow there’s room for empathy, vulnerability and creation. But here’s the kicker, you can’t lie or manage your way into this type of relationship. There’s no amount of people managing that’s going to create a bond like that. To grow this relationship you must risk brutal honesty and unrelenting rejection. But the reward is so worth it as you get a to be part of relationships where you are accepted exactly as you are, flaws and all. 

My adventure of the truth is ongoing. I’ve had many fails, a few wins and wow have I ever screwed up a thing or two. But I’d do it all again.

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