Explanation of how being honest can benefit you by Ron Kurtus - Character Rules in Business and in Life. Key words: truth, dishonest, integrity, Abraham Lincoln, lying, rewards, recognition, pride, dignity, School for Champions. Copyright © Restrictions
by Ron Kurtus (revised 14 February 2006)
You are considered an honest person if you do not lie, steal or deceive, but instead tell the truth and show integrity. If you have a reputation of being honest, people will want to deal with you more, because they trust you. Also, you have a sense of pride in your honesty. So, honesty pays.
Questions you may have are:
- What does it mean to be honest?
- What is being dishonest?
- How does honesty pay?
This lesson will answer those questions.
A person who is considered honest is one who displays integrity, is genuine and not deceptive or fraudulent. Honesty is characterized by truth and sincerity. Honesty denotes the quality of being upright in principle and action. Honesty implies truthfulness, fairness in dealing with others, and refusal to engage in fraud, deceit, or dissembling.
Abraham Lincoln was said to walk back several miles to a store when he noticed he had been given one penny too much in change. That was a sense of being honest and not taking what doesn't belong to you.
It is the same thing as finding something and turning it into the Lost and Found. Besides being honest, it is also being considerate.
A person who is considered dishonest is disposed to lie, cheat, defraud, or deceive.
Examples of being dishonest include, stealing someone's pencil in school, not telling our parents the truth, not giving back something that a person has lost. Cheating on a test is dishonest.
Parents advocate dishonesty
There was recently a case where a 15-year-old boy defrauded stock investors of over $200,000 through manipulation of information over the Internet. The boy was certainly dishonest. Afterwards, his father praised the boy as being clever and "beating the government." The father apparently was giving his dishonest sense of values to his son.
Benefits from being honest
When Lincoln returned the overpaid penny, he probably received thanks from the store owner. That and the sense of satisfaction were the rewards of being honest.
A person that is honest and shows integrity feels better about himself or herself. To take what does not belong to you leaves you with a dirty feeling. A thief may not have a conscious about stealing, but that person has no character. He knows in his heart that he is not good.
I received reward
When I was in the 5th grade, I found a dollar bill on the playground. I turned it into the school office. It was later found out that the dollar was the lunch money of a younger child. His mother sent us a thank you note and a reward of 25 cents. My mother was very proud of me. The 25 cents was a token of appreciation, but the acknowledgement was more important.
When I didn't get reward
There are times when you don't get a reward or even acknowledgement of your honesty. You have to be realistic that not everyone you deal with also has character. In such cases, you can at least hold your head up high that you did the right thing.
Returned lost watch
When I was going to the University of Missouri Graduate School, I found a watch in the men's room. I turned it into the Lost and Found at the school security area. I asked, "If no one claims the watch, would I get it back?"
The security people said, "No. We keep the watch."
That certainly did not encourage honesty. In fact, I fell that they were dishonest to keep the watch. It was not a good reward for being honest, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Another time I found a woman's wallet outside a small department store. The wallet had at least $200 in it. I went back into the store and told a clerk. They asked over the public address system if the person on the identification was in the store.
A lady in her late 50s said she was the person, and I said I had her wallet. She demanded, "Bring it here." She grabbed the wallet and never even thanked me.
While I was walking out of the store, her daughter came over and offered me $20 for returning her mother's wallet. I said, "Forget it." I didn't want their money. At least I can live with myself and hold my head up high.
Sometimes get recognition
The benefits you get from being honest are that sometimes you get recognition and thanks for an honest deed. But in general, honesty is not something that is directly rewarded. It is a feeling you have about yourself. It is a feeling of pride and self-worth and character. I feel I am a stronger and better person because of being honest.
Call to action
Be honest. It is worth your while to tell the truth, to return lost goods, and not to cheat or deceive. Other people like to deal with you, if they can trust you. But you can't always expect a reward or recognition for being honest. It isn't the reward that is important. Rather feel good about yourself for your own honesty. That is what counts.
Honesty is the best policy
Resources and references
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