There is one test in life that is all pervasive, yet often never identified. That test goes a little something like this:
· How well can you lie with a straight face?
Basically, no matter what you are doing, no matter what field you are doing it in, if you are able to lie convincingly, you are at an advantage.
Why is this you may ask? Well, let The Spear fill you in.
To put it bluntly, if you are able to tell people what they want to hear, rather than what is actually the case, you are making it easy for them to like you. And you must keep in mind that opinions are relative.
If you have two people, one of whom is saying the right things - however untrue - and the other is telling you the honest, ugly truth, which one are you going to prefer, assuming that they both appear to be genuine?
The straight-faced liar, while presenting a seemingly polished and potentially fabricated story, is nonetheless telling the right story. The fact that they are simply able to say the right things, even if they are being untrue, indicates that they are savvy enough to know what the right things are, and have the skills to bull-shit their way through a potentially sticky situation (with say, a client/customer/judge). And then there is the off-chance that they are actually as on-the-money as they proclaim to be. It’s a win-win scenario.
While the one who is telling the truth obviously has less reason to be lying, given the less-than-perfect nature of what they are saying, they have failed the hidden test: they were not able to say the right things when they had every logical reason to. By being honest, they have willingly displayed their weaknesses, potentially insulted you, and may potentially do so to the wrong people in the future.
While being honest is often ‘doing the right thing’ by the person who you are being honest with so that problems can be resolved, it unfortunately is often not ‘doing the right thing’ by yourself.
And then the questions must be asked:
1. Is it more important to do the right thing by yourself or others?
2. Can doing the right thing by yourself also be the right thing for others in some circumstances?
The answer to 1 probably depends on the value you place on your own self-worth, and will likely be situation-specific. The answer to 2, The Spear reckons, is ‘yes’, given a few assumptions.
In order to do the right thing by others as well as yourself by being dishonest, the following assumptions must hold:
1. The majority of other people must also agree with the dishonest stance (honestly or dishonestly).
2. Those who take the dishonest stance must genuinely be in the wrong.
3. By being dishonest you gain the ability to win the wider battle.
You are a member of a regime that is perpetrating crimes. You, yourself, are against these crimes, however everybody else in the regime seems to be fine with them. In order to have the greatest impact on stopping/mitigating the crimes, you are best to outwardly agree with the regime, but secretly work from the inside against it. If you were honest, you would be quickly terminated.
You are an applicant for a job, and while you know you will do the best work, you are sure that other applicants are lying about their experience, placing them at an advantage. In order to get the job and maximise the company’s investment, you too fabricate experiences to even the playing field.
Your significant other asks you how their new haricut looks. Everyone else says it looks fantastic, but you think they’ve been butchered. By also saying it looks good, you strengthen the relationship and increase your chances of being able to convince them to go in for a ‘trim’.
Unfortunately, The Spear has a long history of failing The Hidden Test, but at least now that he has identified the formula, he knows there are situations whereby he can pass the test but still ultimately do the right thing by others: the smart way.