What if tomorrow morning we all became bigger saps, bigger suckers, for the many people attempting to pull the wool over our eyes? Would the world be a better place? I’m beginning to think the answer is yes.
In the past, I’d been a strong advocate of everyone telling the rigorous truth. I even fancied myself a bit of a detective, making guilty parties “fess up” when they told falsehoods. In my moody days, I was convinced the country was going down a path of destruction, with no one holding people accountable for their small deceits. How could we just make up things for convenience’s sake or to make ourselves feel a little better? With such behavior, we must be dropping our standards and losing our collective edge.
But now, I root for the teacher who accepts the story about the dog that chewed up the homework assignment, or the golfer who doesn’t argue when his friend tells a story of his ball luckily bouncing off a tree and back onto the fairway.
Why such a dramatic reversal in my thinking and behavior?
After years of watching situations unfold, I believe there is a greater good in allowing individuals to self-correct. Over time, people can gradually realize, on their own, how little fables do them more harm than good. For most of us, the “truth police” present an obstacle to personal growth, rather than the solution.
Here’s what I think happens in the real world. People know when they are being a wee bit untruthful. In most cases, they also know others aren’t fooled by their fabrications. At this point, they don’t need someone like me to point out every error of omission or colorful overstatement. Their self-talk will put them on the right track.
Besides, all of us listen better to what we tell ourselves than to what others are saying to us. Right?
So bring on the tall tales. I won’t alert the PGA when you tell me about your miracle shot on the eighteenth hole.