Honesty is going to take you places in life that you never could have dreamed and it’s the easiest thing you can practice in order to be at peaceful, happy, successful and fulfilled. Honesty is part of the foundation of core values and principles. Honesty cuts through deception and knifes its way through deceit and lies. Honesty leads to a fulfilling, free life.

Honesty is not just about telling the truth. It’s about being real with yourself and others about who you are, what you want. Honesty promotes openness, empowers us and enables us to develop consistency in how we present the facts. Honesty sharpens our perception and allows us to observe everything around us with clarity.

Better Health

Honesty and seeking the truth is always the way to go. Honesty engenders confidence, faith, empowers our willpower and represents us in the best way for others to see and witness our example. Honesty improves our vitality. In an honesty experiment conducted, results showed that telling the truth when tempted to lie can significantly improve a person’s mental and physical health, according to a “Science of Honesty” study. Respectable, admired behavior is always carried out with honesty. Telling the truth and backing it up with actions show respect for what’s right and an esteem for ethical and moral integrity. Honesty is one of the key components to character and one of the most admired traits of any successful, responsible person.

Success, for me, is not quantified in terms of money, sales or number of social media followers. Particularly not the latter! I value success in terms of character, self-awareness, honesty, sensitivity, emotional intelligence and hard work. An emotionally intelligent person is a person of impeccable integrity and honesty; someone who can perceive and recognize the quality of honesty in another. Business transactions and the everyday transactions of life, human relations must be carried out with a code of trust and honesty or else everything will break down sooner or later.

Where Honesty Will Lead You

I’ve always carried myself with a candidness (and I’d like to believe genuineness) which demonstrates a reflection of my thoughts. At times, I’ve been candid to a fault. But overall, I live with zero regrets. I believe candidness, openness and honesty has benefited me more than any other qualities in how I comport myself. Honesty has endeared me to many people of influence and, simply to my near and dear ones. Honesty is never contrived or inauthentic — it’s always the genuine one over all other quality. I’d much rather lay all my cards on the table and be forthcoming and transparent about my aspirations and intents. As I matured in my 20’s, I learned to leave deception and lies to the CIA agents in the movies — in the land of fiction, where they belong. Honesty is the best use of everyone’s time. It’s led me to form a network of family, friends and business partners who I trust and respect, as we can all mutually benefit from this truth.

And why not pass along Abraham Lincoln’s own words on the topic, who is often referred as Honest Abe was shrewd, direct and honest in all of his human relations transactions and dealings: “Resolve to be honest at all events; and if, in your own judgment, you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation.”

No legacy is so rich as honesty – William Shakespeare

Honesty Helps You Find the Answers You’re Looking For

Honesty cuts through red tape, distraction, frustration and indecision. Honesty gets you where you want to go faster because you live how you really feel. You may not always know what you want in your future — whether that’s one month, six months or two years from now — but your intuition will give you a feel for what is in harmony with your heart. Honest intentions in speech and action gain the attention and respect of others. These people become the ones that you not only want to influence but be influenced by. The company we keep and surround ourselves with help to define our outlook on life, as well as lift us to places we couldn’t have arrived at entirely by our own efforts.

Start today, first, by being as honest as you can with yourself. Be honest about your thoughts, words, actions and intentions. Then think about your interaction with society and your personal relationships. Are you letting people know your true self? If not, what are you afraid of?

Dishonesty Can Cost You

Dishonesty actually triggers a stress response in the body. This stress response prevents us from staying in the present moment. When stress hormones are released, they activate our “fight or flight” response. Vital resources are taken away from functions that are considered to be non-essential. That includes the neocortex of the brain, which handles all high-level, logical thinking. In other words, dishonesty actually makes you less intelligent in the moment, and thus less able to make good decisions—and that can hurt you in almost any area of your life.

Foster Honesty in the Workplace

You probably learned as a kid that honesty is the best policy, and it’s a philosophy that should continue in the workplace. But honesty as an adult becomes a broader concept than the simple expectation that everyone should tell the truth. In the workplace it’s valued as a cultural paradigm including trust, integrity, ethics and so much more. Honesty in the workplace encourages a sense of trust among employees, the company and the community.

In the business world, there is sometimes a mindset that says small lies—so-called white lies—are acceptable if they are well intentioned or push you toward a goal. It’s an, ‘the ends justify the means’ mentality, and it’s more widely-accepted than most people realize. However, lying in the workplace can generate very negative effects. It can be tempting to talk about honesty in clichés. “Honesty is the best policy.” We tell each other that it’s morally best to tell the truth, but the fact is that very few of us actually adhere to that policy. You might be tempted to insist that you are one of the few people who wouldn’t lie in any situation, but we all do sometimes—and we always find ways to justify it to ourselves.

Some Tips to Foster Honesty in the Workplace

The more transparent the work environment, the happier the employees are. The happier employees are, the more productive they are. Ultimately, honesty builds trust in the company and confidence in leadership. Voicing the truth enables all of us to identify the issue and work as a team to better it.

Leave the judgment at the door. It is important to give each other the freedom to be honest, even if we don’t agree with their assessment. Making an employee feel that his/her opinion is judged will not foster an environment where they feel open to express their ideas and/or concerns.

Clear the Pipes. In our office, at the end of team meeting, we conclude the portion with a “clear the pipes section.” This gives members of the team an opportunity to voice opinions, frustrations, or to just get some things off their chest. It bonds the team itself because we know that we can express ourselves to our colleagues.

Implementation is Key. It is important that you don’t just give people an outlet or a forum to express their opinions, but you actually DO something about their opinions. Empowered employees are employees that perform above and beyond, and feel a strong sense of loyalty to their company.

Communicate the Positive AND the Negative. At the end of the day, there will always be things that need improvement. But there are so many things that are done well, and that voice should always be heard from employees and leadership in any forms. Communication is the most important way to foster this honest environment.