Don’t tell a single lie for 30 days

“I can’t stand lies. Probably no one can. Probably everyone is, to varying degrees, allergic to them, both spiritually and physically. Lies make me feel low and ignoble, and also itchy, like there’s sand under my skin. The only thing that feels worse than hearing a lie is telling one.” ~Marisa de los Santos, Belong to Me


In this week’s installment of 30 30-Day Challenges You Can Start Now to Motivate Your Work and Life, inspired by Marc and Angel, our challenge to you is to not tell a single lie for 30 days.

Marc and Angel point out that, “With all the seemingly innocent, white lies that trickle out of us, this is way harder than it sounds.” According to some research, around 12% of people admit to lying “sometimes” or “often.” And according to a survey by psychotherapist and consultant Dr. Brad Blanton, 93% of respondents out of 40,000 Americans admitted to lying “regularly and habitually in the workplace.” But who knows, maybe the other people who were asked lied about whether or not they lie.

Small lies that avoid conflict are probably the most common sort of lie, which may explain why people lie at work. However, even little white lies or truth evasions to avoid conflict can be damaging.

Robert Feldman, author of The Liar in Your Life, describes the surprising and sobering reality of lying in everyday life, based on nearly three decades of research:

These may seem to be so-called “little white lies”—innocent evasions like “I feel fine” or “I like your dress” or “You were amazing”—but those lies exact a cost. When we know we’re being dishonest, we feel less trusting about our environment and the people around us. And those little lies create a climate for greater deceptions, leading to “a culture of lies” that pervades today’s society.

Lying, including covering up facts or avoiding the truth, about a situation does not change what truly happened or the reality of what is. A recent article in Inc. magazine, “Three Shocking Truths About Lying at Work” points out: “As we become better at creating false justifications, we blur the lines between right and wrong and allow lies to become a regular aspect of everyday life.” Even a small lie could potentially have consequences for someone else or for you. The article provides some great examples of how even small lies and incidents of cheating affect all of us in the workplace, and points to some of the effects on the larger economy.

This 30-day challenge could be a tough one, but you can do it. Of course you don’t have to be rude or mean on your quest to tell the truth. But let’s be honest, in the long run, all parties involved will be better off. Take responsibility and tell the truth.

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