What’s the right way to challenge someone you know…someone you love or respect…when something that person says makes your bullshit meter twinge? How do you behave when someone you know…someone you love or respect…announces something that you know is based on air and ego?
I once worked for a man, a terrific man, one of the best. I worked for him and saw how capable he is, how truly wonderful. He did great things, the best things. Really. You would be proud to call him your friend.
I knew him to be gentle and caring and smart. Very smart. Went to several of the best schools and got great grades, superior grades. Better than almost everyone else.
But he had this one teeny tiny habit. He made up statistics. And I knew it.
I challenged him once…in private. He grinned and asked me who would know. I told him I would know. The others who worked with us might know. And he would know.
And he smiled.
Now this man is not self-serving and malicious. On the contrary, he recognizes that he was given chances in life and now, because he is in a position to do so, he wants to help others.
I love this man. Do not misunderstand me.
But I see when good men can also lie, we are in trouble.
We have a President who does not know how to admit he does not know something. We have a President who is so unsure about himself that he must take up information. He lies.
He lies so much that when he is caught and understands it is a lie, he blames it on others.
This man has no moral compass.
So how do we deal with the small lies we hear from people we love and respect?
I don’t know about you, but I will continue to let that person know I recognize what he did. I will continue to offer a level of privacy…for a time. But if the lies continue, it has to be stopped.
As soon as we as a society get accustomed to the level of lying that goes on, it will increase.
Or perhaps, it already has because we let it go. We ourselves lie at times. And when we let it go with people we know, how can we hold people we do not know accountable? It used to be that a person’s word was what made their reputation.
It starts with each one of us. No more embellishing. No more lying by omission. No more painting the picture better than it is.
It means admitting you don’t know. That you need more info. That you need some help.
When I was working my very first job out of college I did not know a lot of what I was doing. (I suspect many people play act as I did). I tried to carry it off, but I felt there was a big neon sign flashing over my head–“FRAUD.” it took maturity to understand that it is perfectly okay if I do not know something. That level of maturity helped me a lot when I started visiting farms and had no idea of the value or benefits of corn feeding or grass feeding cattle. The rancher was patient and I actually found everyone was patient. They enjoyed talking about something that they knew. And so I learned.
And I also learned that I didn’t need to bullshit any more.