Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Lying–Maybe…Maybe Not

Encouraging isn’t it? But is it true? Does EVERYBODY lie?

Or is it one of those things in life were nobody even cares? It has become so common place it no longer registers on our radar screen. It has become ingrained in who we are.

Maybe it is something in between the two. We sort of pick and choose when we lie. We all know the famous, “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” dilemma.  Or the, “What do you think of my new haircut?” We have all experienced the outspoken co-worker who is either out in left or right field ranting for ten solid minutes about the latest government folly, who then asks, “So what do you think?”

Perhaps we get cagey about our definition of a lie. Mark Twain said, “There are white lies, lies, and statistics.” Do we think there are white lies that smooth life’s paths, lies that we know are lies, but we say them anyway for a variety of reasons, and whoppers,  which we all know to be wrong, but have probably said anyway, also for a variety of reasons.

Today, I read an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal (Saturday/Sunday, April 14, 15, 2012) on page C4, just south of the Guns & Roses article (weird huh?). It was entitled, Psychology: The Business of Lying and this was the opening paragraph:

Have you ever been tempted to lie to a company? Consumers who fib are more satisfied than truth-tellers when a dispute with a firm works out to their advantage–more unhappy when it doesn’t. 

This is the rest of the article:

A study involving nearly 600 people put many of them in situations where they were prompted to lie to a “service provider,” in order to gain a prize, or invited to do so. They leapt at the chance. In one scenario, students had the option of lying about computer habits to someone on the phone, in order to receive a USB flash-drive key ring; three-fourths chose to do so.

In these lab scenarios, confirmed by interviews about real-world behavior, liars showed more polarized reactions than people who pleaded their case without embellishment.

Lying demands substantial cognitive effort, the researchers explained, and that makes it harder for liars to notice cues about how a negotiation is going. So the resolution comes as more of a (pleasant or unpleasant) surprise.

“The Labor of Lies: How Lying for Material Rewards Polarizes Consumers Outcome Satisfaction,” Christina I. Anthony and Elizabeth Cowley, Journal of Consumer Research (forthcoming)

So the bottom line is (according to this article) it requires more effort to tell a lie than the truth. And while, we are telling the lie, it requires more concentration on the telling, so we miss little clues that would normally alert us to the outcome. In short, we tend to get blindsided.

When tackling this type of subject it is easy to get wrapped up in all the various aspects and I don’t have the inclination nor the space for all that. I want to conclude by encouraging all of us (myself at the top of the list) to consider telling the truth more. It gets messy, I know. But in the long run, isn’t it better?

Be encouraged!

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16 thoughts on “Lying–Maybe…Maybe Not

  1. That’s RIGHT! People lie all the time and don’t even know it anymore. I’m tired of it. It’s especially irritating when FRIENDS lie right in front of you and don’t even realize that you KNOW the truth because you were THERE. It’s disheartening.

    Not to pat myself on the back but I am the most honest person I know. As noted in your post, it takes lots more energy to lie. Why not just fess up and be done with it. I LIKE this post!

    • I lived a lie for most of my adult life. When I finally “fessed up” I couldn’t believe how I felt. It was an actually physical release. I felt as if someone took about 50 lbs. off my back. It was truly amazing.

      I am dumbfounded by how we have allowed ourselves to coast to the point where posts like these are seen as a wake up call.

      Always be encouraged!

  2. You bring up an interesting idea for me – this idea that lying takes on different forms depending on your stage of development – pick your developmental theory. I need to think about what a lie looks like in light of this. Do you have any articles that talk about this?
    Thanks for the post.

    • Lem, first of all let me say how much I enjoy your posts regarding leadership. I would like to swap a few emails, or even a phone call or two , to discuss my experiences in leadership development at a Global 100 manufacturing firm. I think you’ll find the stories interesting.

      Developmental theories are kind of like a bad haircut, everyone has had one, but their idea of what it is differs widely. Lying when we are younger is often seen as punishment avoidance. Q.-Did you spill the milk? A.-No way, the cat did it. As we age lying is the result of peer acceptance or is seen as a useful tool to gain something. Such as Q.-Hey Dad, can I have the car keys? A./Q.-Did you get your room cleaned like your Mom asked? A.-Yeah, pretty much (Reality-room looks like a bomb went off in it, but you told the guys it would be no problem getting your Dad’s car and promised to pick them up at 6:00). By the time you have graduated from college and entered the work force, the lies start to look more like CYA. Q.-Did you get the Jones Report done? A.-Yeah, you’ll have it on your desk when you arrive in the morning. (Reality-What the hell is the Jones report?)

      If you look at Maslow and Metamotivation, is it possible we are seeking fulfillment of our Being Needs via lying through our teeth?

      I don’t have any articles which speak directly about what I’ve written. However, I have pulled from Psychology Journals, books, magazines, newspapers, and friends who I have bombarded with questions, concepts, and theories. While sitting around having a few beers I have often pulled the topic of our conversation from whether the Yankees will pull it together to make another run for the pennant to when do our dreams become reality?

      I drive my friends nuts, but as long as I’m buying, they seem to hang around. lol

      My email is Give me a holler and maybe we can exchange phone numbers. By the way…what do you think…when do dreams become reality?

      Be encouraged!

  3. One of the maxims I had posted over my desk for many years said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” That having been said, I attended a terrific book reading a few nights ago by Linden MacIntyre, who is on abook tour for his new book, “Why Men Lie”. As he made clear, it’s not a self-help book for women! However, it’s a great title and added to the animation of the discussion of the standing-room only crowd. MacIntyre, who is a very good presenter as well as journalist and author, put forward a theory (with a twinkle in his eye) that men start to lie as little boys – to their mother. It’s so hard to tell the truth when asked, “Where were you?”, when a slight alteration of the truth makes life so much easier!!! Lesson learned.

  4. Having saving said all that, show me someone who claims that he/she never lies & I will show you a liar

  5. oh my….
    >>>>>”Some men (not all, 😉 have to lie about ‘WHY’ they lie!!<<<<<<
    Rack 'em up boys!! Keep lying about why you're lying, we're listening LOL! What he doesn't realize is….while little boys are lying to their mothers, (???FEAR??) little girls are being taught by their fathers, BOYS LIE!
    Too late MacIntyre—-we're onto you, and just like you, we started 'getting it', from a very young age!! That's no lie 😉 One more thing, boys lying to their Mom's didn't really make life easier, it probably just sparred them the consequences. So come on guys, you lie because you're afraid of the wrath lol!

    • Gosh, this lying thing has started our own little personal firestorm. Why? Well probably for two reasons. 1.) We all do it. We aren’t exactly proud of that fact. We don’t go around saying, “Alright! I just told another whopper!” Truth is we are ashamed. We are ashamed, because even after all we’ve been taught (programmed?) we still know it is wrong. 2.) We have all been lied to and it is frustrating. It hurts and we clearly understand the world (shoot, forget the world, even our little lives) would be a better place if everyone would stop.

      Boys lie to girls, girls lie to boys, men lie to women, women lie to men, men lie to men, women lie to women, employees lie to bosses, bosses lie to employees, companies lie to customers, customers lie to companies, races lie to other races, nations lie to other nations, and I’m relatively confident if the human race ever encounters extra terrestrials, we will lie to them too.

      So the bottom line is, “What do we do?”

      This is too good for just a reply. I’m going to take this out and put it on the big screen. I will have a post forthwith, which will answer the question, “What do we do?”

      • I agree Stephen, I was being lop-sided on my reply. As usual I pondered that (your) topic, and I truely believe we all lie out of fear. Fear of being flawed for one. Fear of being caught because it would prevent us from doing what we want, regardless (selfish?) Fear of secret self….lies are self based, and I would never say I haven’t lied, and as far as the ‘what do we do?’ Well, that’s a very good question!

      • I knew you would agree…we always agree…only differently…lol. Our fears (at least mine anyway) are powerful motivating factors in my life. When things are going right, it works like a charm. Face the fear…overcome…throw victory party…face next fear. When things aren’t going so well…face the fear…palms sweat, knees buckle, feces hit the fan, feces blow all over everything, try to clean up feces, feces smeared everywhere, everything smells like feces, do the best I can…try to face next fear.

        Good to hear from you and absolutely always enjoy your comments…thanks.

        Be encouraged!

      • Ok, you drew me right back to the geriatrics unit with this comment! I feel I should shower right about now! So you’re saying for you, fear is a motivational thing? I think I’m starting to view fear as a connection to many things. “A BASE TO HUMAN BEHAVIOR” If lying might be fear based, or motivation can be fear based, then maybe all human behavior is fear based??? Vassilating between something ‘acceptable to something less acceptable’ Perhaps everything we do, or don’t do, is actually attatched to fear somehow. ‘FEAR: anxiety caused by real or possible danger’—–Maybe one of our human flaws is we are natural fighters/warriors, and if we are not engaging in some sort of anxiety, we will search for it—in other words, if we are not engaged in something stimulating, we will create the thing that satisfies a need??? Maybe we need fear, which is why we do things often referred to as mistakes (cheating, lying, killing, etc) We all live each day in some sort of apprehension agree? From knowing nuclear missle sights exsist, to knowing mother nature can kill us (storms, earthquakes, etc) a drug riddled society, money issues…..everyday is lived knowing the elements/situations, are dangerous, precarious, and can change in a blink. Yet we don’t or can’t really change them. Plus, we crerated them. This world is of our own human creation. We accept them, and like ants, just work around them. It’s our conditioned response (we have adapted) I think, in a wierd way, we crave those things naturally. I have said it before I’ll say it again, we are a flawed species! I wonder what it would be like if we were a different beast— a truly peaceful creature by nature—- I don’t believe we are totally peaceful creatures.. I do wonder though how different our existance might be if we didn’t have such an aggressive need….like a dolphin! or a sloth 🙂 What a sweet world it would be!

      • While a Susie has often commented on my “sloth like ways” I’m sure this isn’t what you are referring to. lol Fear for me is a “motivational thing” to some extent. I don’t live in morbid fear, but I do what is necessary to pay the bills, secure a retirement, and feed, clothe, and shelter Susie, Jake the Wonder Dog, and myself, with a little set aside to enjoy a few things in life.

        Be encouraged!

      • oh boy, I wasn’t implying YOU were a sloth, nor a person consummed by fear. It is just a simple analogy based off human nature and our behaviors. A genetic thing??? You are certainly not to be classified nor did I mean to suggest that! You asked ‘what do we do?”‘ re: people and why they lie….I’m trying to say, ‘can we do anything?’ You make me smile Stephen, and that’s the truer base, for youself at least. I wish, more people were like dolphins is all! Maybe I’ll shut up now!

      • Hey, we are beyond that “being offended” thing…I know your heart and you know mine better than that…we are good at grace. 🙂

        But I don’t know about that dolphin thing…I’m not all that good in water over my head…and my insides begin to liquefy when I think of sea monsters…lol.

        Be encouraged!

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