What’s the Purpose of Lying?
Lying does serve a useful purpose. Well, I can give you a laundry list of the benefits I have derived from lying, from looking good to not looking bad, to getting out of embarrassing situations, to .., well.., I suspect you know the list pretty well, too.
In my early twenties, with expedience trumping ethics, I padded my resume, inflating my qualifications and experience in applying for a job for which I was not qualified. I got the job, and, though I did not think about it at the time, a little more validation that under the right circumstances lying pays off. There were two distinct benefits of this lie; it allowed me to keep up with the expenses of my growing family and, even more importantly because I had landed a job I was not qualified for, I began the process of mastering inventing, generating and discovering how to produce results that, before the fact, all the evidence said I was not able/qualified to produce.
Shortly after mastering how to do my new job, I repeated the process, enhancing my skills and experience and making another move up the career ladder each time I got a bigger job, more compensation, and in the bargain further honed my skill in inventing, generating and discovering how to produce results that all the evidence said I was not able/qualified to produce.
This is not a career strategy that I recommend, as many have discovered it can have serious negative consequences, especially with personal information becoming so much more widely available and lie detection getting ever more sophisticated.
We All Lie!
I have shared my experience of lying with clients and not surprisingly, many have shared their version of boosting (lying about) their experience, qualifications and accomplishments. My point: It is simple.
We all lie.
And, we lie about the fact that we lie, even to ourselves.
We are inauthentic, and we are inauthentic about the fact we are inauthentic.
Except, and here’s the kicker, not always!
In a recent Huffington Post article Jinny Ditzler got me thinking about this business of lying when she said, “I lie to myself and I’m sure you do, too.” If we all lie, and we lie about the fact that we lie, even to ourselves, how do we build relationships that are real, that we can trust, that we can rely on?
If I lie, and lie that I lie, even to myself.., then how in heaven’s name can I discover what is the truth? Drags up the age-old existential question, “Who am I really?”
And, it is not hard to find lots of advice about how to stop lying.., because, well, lies harm us and the people we lie to, or so says neuroscientist Sam Harris in his book, Lying. Yeah, well.., thanks for sharing Sam.., but if I am lying to myself that I am lying to myself, I am in a bit of a Catch 22, wouldn’t you say?Download Article 1K Club