Looking Nice Vs. Being Honest

A few days ago, Rajesh Setty published an article about blind spots.

The article took me back in early 2008 when I attended Landmark Forum in which I was exposed to ‘distinction’ as a subject. Within just a few days of completing Landmark Forum, not surprisingly I came across Rajesh’s blog while doing online research on methods to make a difference.

(Btw, on his blog, Rajesh runs a nice series called “Distinguish Yourself“. Worth having a look.)

Blind spot is a state wherein you don’t know what you don’t know. This leads to passive choices and consequences thereof.

In the article, Rajesh talks about seven such blind spots. It connected me with a specific blind spot that I used to have for the first 30 years of my life.

I used to be nice at the expense of being honest. Without knowing its impact on me and my surroundings.

When a close relative asked me to loan me INR 60k which was a huge amount for me to arrange then, I was not able to tell him that I didn’t have the money but instead I offered him stories and excuses that resulted into some delays.  My that relative kept hoping that I would help him and given the fact that I didn’t have enough money to lend, I was in dilemma about what to tell him when he would call me next? I couldn’t help him, he didn’t initiate the alternative plans banking on my stories. It resulted in lose-lose preposition.

Similarly, when an intern asked me to solve a typical programming problem in Java (I was a Programmer focused on Microsoft Technologies such as VB, ASP, C++ then), I didn’t tell her upfront that I am not the right person who can help her for solving a problem in Java.  Instead, I started solving the problem as if I were an expert. In the end, I was able to solve the problem but it took 5x more time than normal. What a waste!

If such events would have happened today, here’s how I’d have dealt with them:

I’d have told my relative upfront that I love to help him but my finances do not permit me to lend him INR 60k that he required. And, if my relative would stop keeping good relationship with me hearing such an answer then it would be better not to have such relatives who cannot stand your honesty. Period.

Similarly, I’d have told the intern that I am not the right person as I don’t know the subject well. Instead let me connect her with Mr. ABC who knows the subject well. I am convinced about one thing, that I don’t know all the things, and that’s okay!

The above clarity came only after I learned to observe and recognize some of my blind spots and taking the required steps to eliminate such blindness.

Now, reflect on what Paulo Coelho said:

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

What do you really want?

Being nice at the cost of being honest or being honest at the cost of being nice?

Make a choice and all the universe will conspire in helping you achieve it.