One of the most important lessons my parents taught us kids when we were growing up was always to be honest, always to tell the truth. Even when doing so would cause us pain (as in bringing on punishment for something we admitted doing), they expected us to tell the truth. Being true to one’s word was the most important characteristic of the reputation they wanted us to develop. Such had been the case with our ancestors, and they wanted it to continue with us.
I thought of my parents’ admonition recently when I ran across two quotations from Napoleon Hill (on the right in the photo with W. Clement Stone). I share them here with the hope that they will inspire you, too.
It’s mighty easy to justify dishonesty if you make your living from it. [For some reason, I automatically thought of politicians when I read that statement! A sad commentary on the state of our government today.] The subconscious mind makes no moral judgments. If you tell yourself something over and over, your subconscious mind will eventually accept even the most blatant lie as fact. Those whose lives and careers have been destroyed by dishonest behavior began the process of self-destruction when they convinced themselves that one slight infraction of the rules wouldn’t matter. When you sell yourself on an idea, make sure the idea is positive, beneficial to you, and harmless to others. Just as negative thoughts and deeds return to their originator, so do positive ones. When you practice honest, ethical behavior, you set in motion a force for good that will return to you many times over.
Closely related to and building upon that first quotation is the second one:
Falsehood does evermore have a way of publishing itself. It is virtually impossible to conceal the truth forever. It is the natural order of things that the truth will eventually come out. This single fact is the foundation of our judicial system and the basis on which all human relationships are formed. A business, professional, or personal relationship built upon a lie cannot long endure, but one that is founded on truth and equality of benefit for the participants is unlimited. Make it a practice to tell the truth in all that you do–even when it doesn’t matter–and you will form a habit of truthfulness. You will know instinctively that it is better to tell the truth and face the consequences than to launch a falsehood that will eventually make itself known to the world.
Mother and Daddy had never read anything by Napoleon Hill, but they read faithfully the original source of his tidbits of wisdom: the Bible. Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life” (John 14:6). What better foundation to build a reputation upon than the Truth Himself?
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Copyright (c) 2018, Dennis L. Peterson