Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Are you your own worst obstacle?

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

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Are you your own worst obstacle?


Most people are not too smart. That is unfortunate of course. Why can’t most people understand that what they do is what gets the results they have. It is not what they say that makes them successful, it is what they do, how they behave, the results they get.

You hear people talk and you listen to the same thing over and over. “I want to be successful, I would like to be happy, I want to have good health, be financially secure, have a marvelous wife and great kids and then you watch what they do and it is impossible for them to get what they want.

In other words, they practically sabotage their success on a daily basis.

I have good friends and acquaintances that are screwing up their lives by making stupid decisions and doing dumb things every single day of their lives.

Let me give you an example. I have a friend who is great at remodeling houses.

He was down on his luck, lost his job in the government, broke off a long term relationship and things were not going well for him.

I needed some work to be done in my home so I hired him to do so. It was a small job, not more than four or five thousand dollars. I also referred him to another friend of mine who manages buildings and who could give him a lot of work if he thought he did a good job.

This guy starts work on my home on a Monday, works for three days and on Thursday disappears until next Monday. He didn’t call or anything, he simply left and on Monday when he comes back, he tells me that he had to leave town for a few days but that he was back.

He also started work on one of the buildings that my friend manages and left without having finished.

I got very upset when he came back on Monday. I asked him why in the world didn’t he call me and let me know. Why didn’t he say anything?

I said that of all people, it was very stupid to screw up with me because I am the one that gave him a job and also referred him to someone who could give him lots of work.

He has now lost a client, me and another client, my friend who could have given him work for one, two or even more years.

This guy does good work. He is top notch in carpentry, plumbing, roof replacement, you name it, and he can do it very well and at a very good price. But, he has an Achilles tendon and that is that he is not reliable. He doesn’t keep his promises.

At least three more times he did the same thing. He simply wouldn’t show up for a day or two and then show up. So, he lost my trust and he also lost my other friend’s trust, the guy that manages buildings.

So now we have to ask why is a good worker, smart, with knowledge and skills,  be doing so poorly?

And we have to answer that he is stupid. Or that his behavior is stupid. He is not successful because he gets in his own way. He is his worst enemy, his worst obstacle.

I often say in my seminars that knowledge is power. Then I correct myself and say, no, we should say “applied knowledge is power.” Because if you know and you don’t do, you don’t know.

This friend of mine knows, he knows quite a bit but he simply doesn’t do. He doesn’t act on is knowledge in order to do a good job.

What you know makes little or no difference in your life. What you do with what you know makes all the difference in the world.

Analyze your own life. Look at how many opportunities you might be missing because of your fault, because of something you didn’t do, because you committed to doing something and you didn’t follow through. It could be something as simple as not returning a phone call or telling someone that you were going to call and you didn’t.

I have been guilty of this myself in the past. Don’t think that because I am writing about it I am perfect or it has never happened to me.

I lost one of the biggest opportunities in my life because I didn’t do what I said I was going to do, I didn’t follow up.

Mark Victor Hansen, the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul attending a banquet with me in Dallas, asked me to submit my story so as to be included in the first Chicken Soup book. I said I would send him the story. The following Monday, I went off  to Argentina for a speech and I simply forgot. I never sent him the story. The rest is history! Chicken Soup for the Soul books have been mega best sellers and I didn’t make it for the first book, all my fault.

Everyone that got their story in that first book became very successful because millions of people read about them.

So, before you blame the economy, or the government or your boss, company or neighbor for you not doing as well as you should, take a look at yourself and how you are handling your life and your business. There you might have the answer.


Difficult decisions: Letting go of executives and managers that can't do the job

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

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Difficult decisions: Letting go of executives and managers that can’t do the job.


The great football coach and motivational speaker Vince Lombardi said:

“If you are not fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm”.


That my friends should be a mantra in every organization. Every job, whether you deal with the public or you are hidden in a corner office needs enthusiasm to perform at the level needed today to be successful.


Vince was right. In today’s world with the amount of competition and much more sophisticated clients, companies need people that love their jobs, that feel passion for what they are doing, and that demonstrate great enthusiasm and a positive attitude when they are at work.


A man named Bill Zollars, who used to work for Ryder Trucks in Miami, Florida and left that company to become CEO of Yellow Corporation at a time when that company was on the verge of bankruptcy, had to face the Board of Directors on his first day on the job.


The first question they asked of him was: “What do you think this company needs more than anything else?”


Do you know what he answered?  His answer will shock most of you as it did me:

“Public Hangings!”


Recalling the moment in an interview with Jason Jennings, Zollars said that he perceived panic in the room and a collective gasp. Everybody in the room probably had at that moment, one question in their minds, “Who have we hired to lead this company?”


Well, as it turned out, they had hired the right executive to head the company. Taking a company that was very close to closing its doors and letting go of thousands of employees, in a few years he achieved dramatic results in all measures of productivity in the freight business including: Customer satisfaction which was at a very low level, on time service,  dock bills per hour, and tons per tractor per year.  Today, Yellow is close to reaching $4 billion dollars a year with much higher annual revenue than most companies in that industry.


Zollars management theory, very important to understand in today’s business climate, is that a new CEO or President or even a manager in a department, committed to improving a business needs to send a loud signal to everyone in the organization that things will never be as they were and that they will change fast.


His vivid “public hangings” metaphor definitely conveyed that message I would say in a very clear manner. Bill Zollars believes that since people are such an important part of the equation for a company to be successful, you must keep the executives that will help the company achieve its goals and the people who don’t fit into your new paradigm move them out of the company as soon as possible, meaning very fast.


It has been said that Lee Iacocca who used to head Chrysler Corporation during very challenging times and who was very successful in turning it around, had a sign behind his desk that read: THE FLOGGINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES.


It was probably a joke but that is what he believed in, very much like Mr. Zollars.


What he was trying to communicate is that you better get with the program or you are out.


Business leaders have no control over weather, natural disasters, the economy, interest rates or what competitors do; yet thinking or worrying about these issues often takes up much of their day.


What a leader can control is who joins or leaves the team and how to develop and train those on board.

Unfortunately, most leaders make poor use of this freedom. To fix, build, or take an organization to a higher level, a leader must exercise one of leaderships greatest privileges proactive and aggressively, deciding whom to keep and whom to fire.


We all know that our culture in Puerto Rico and other Hispanic countries with the “hay bendito” makes it extremely difficult to do this but if you look at it from a different point of view, you will soon realize that if you keep someone that doesn’t have the talent or the motivation to hold a specific job, you are not doing that person a favor.


 There is a reason that he or she is not performing and it could very well be that the person is not pursuing his or her passion and sooner or later it will catch up and it is much better to find out sooner than later. Everyone should have fun and make money doing what they love to do. Spending eight hours a day, one third of your life stuck in a job you don’t enjoy doing is a tragedy.


We must face the fact that in Puerto Rico with expensive labor and high wages, there is a need for effective executives and committed employees that will lead a team to high levels of productivity. Those executives or employees that can’t do that should not be working in the organization.


 Otherwise we have no chance competing against countries with much lower wages than us.    


If you are in a situation in which you must make a company more productive, besides hiring capable consultants (there aren’t many), you must ask yourself a few key questions:

What do I really want for the future of this company and what strategy will I implement to make it happen?


Do I have the right people to implement the new strategy?


Do I have the resources needed to accomplish our goals and objectives?


What processes will need to be put in place to turn out a quality product or service?


Will I have measurement systems to track our progress?


Yes, there are other important questions but these are enough to steer you in the right track.



A gold mine ready to be exploited: baby boomers

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

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A gold mine ready to be exploited: Baby boomers


In the United States and Puerto Rico, there are millions of baby boomers that have one thing on their mind: How to stay young and active.


 For any savvy marketer, that should represent a gold mine ready to mine. Disney World is over 55 years old and it is still going strong. So are many baby boomers.


Marketers are starting to notice that baby boomers still have many years of work left in them and they represent a bigger chunk of the economy than any time in history.


 Years ago, being in your forties was assumed to be your peak earning years but the life expectancy was much lower.


 Right now, “a 65 year old man can expect to live on average to be 88” according to  Steven Zaleznick who created a company to teach boomers how to handle their finances during their retirement years.


Boomers are right now over a 2 trillion a year market with spending habits that include their sons and daughters, grandchildren and themselves. They also buy stuff for their parents since many of their parents, specially their mothers, are still alive. As many of you know, mine passed away on November 6th.


Some experts argue that most entrepreneurship is being driven by boomers, more so than the twenty five to forty five year old population. Boomers and seniors account for over 47% of all self-employed workers.


If you are a proactive business person, you should be trying to figure out what kind of products and services appeal to this market.


Focalyst, a New York consulting firm found that seven out of ten boomers shop for new and better products and that nine out of ten are looking for value and are willing to change from a brand name.


Let’s give some thought at what industries you could target to earn some of their business.


Right out of the top of my head, I would say that financial services and insurance products would be two of the main ones. The boomers need to plan their final years in such a way that they will not risk their capital and be much more conservative. Those that have not been prudent enough to have bought insurance products must investigate to see what type of products they can get at this stage of their lives.


 How about travel services? Don’t you think that baby boomers are now in a position to enjoy some of their hard earned money?


When I do my seminars, I sometimes ask people what their dream is.

 In every seminar, the most common answer by boomers is to travel.  Younger people say to own a home. In your younger years, when you are raising kids and stuff, it is more difficult to travel but when your kids are grown up, you didn’t eat all your marshmallows, and you have enough saved to live the good life, travel is a natural. Some even take out loans to pay for the cruise.


Health care is also an important industry for baby boomers. It is a fact of life that some boomers lost their pension when their companies went belly up, other companies are reducing their pensions and health insurance for retirees is harder to get. Obama care is now a fact of life and the jury is still out on what kind of an impact it will have. Some people I talk to, see it as a financial disaster in the making, others say it is a great idea. We will see.  


Another market that comes to mind is cosmetics. Baby boomers want to eliminate wrinkles and they want to look young. When you see boomers hanging around with young women and sometimes marrying them, they are all looking at themselves in the mirror every day and thinking “how can I look younger”? So, any cosmetic products that can make people younger, men and women will have a tremendous market.


A few years ago, during a book signing, I had the honor of meeting the widow of Pablo Casals who married the maestro when he was in his eighties and she was barely twenty. I bet seniors all over the world clapped and rejoiced when they saw one of their own obtain such a victory although publicly many spoke against it. They were married for 14 years until he passed away.


Spas and gyms that cater to older crowds should also do well. Boomers have worked very hard all their lives and they want to be pampered. If you open one of those Spas’s and you do it with class and with tender gloves, you will have many clients.


Will internet related products and services do well with the boomers? You can bet on it. The internet has gained tremendous importance in our lives, there is no doubt about it and lots of boomers are into it.  Many thought that the boomers would not get into technology but time has proven them wrong. Most don’t love it, some do, but they all know that they must do it or they will be left behind.


In fact, many of those porn sites are frequented by older guys that are fantasizing on their younger days. I am not telling you to open a porn site, ok? I don’t like that type of business, but techies that can teach boomers how to get into the internet, how to open legitimate on line businesses, how to repair their computers, how to use different programs to make them more effective, will do very well with this market. The web sites that are designed for the boomers should be easy to navigate, and in large letters so that they can be read.


Funeral homes should get more customers as the population ages so those that have the nerve and the stomach, should look into that business. Boomers will also change the concept of death quite remarkably. Take a look at Eternal Reefs, a cremation company that will mix your ashes with concrete blocks and convert those blocks into an artificial reef off the coast of Florida. Friends, I am not making this up. Yes, Boomers will in the company of fish even in their afterlife.


 Nursing homes will also be in demand. In a study done a few years ago, over fifty percent of Americans said that they would not take care of their parents in their old age. Some Puerto Ricans are thinking that way too. Sad but true.


Dogs and cats are now much more than pets. They are treasured members of a boomers family. Remember the good old days when dogs slept in dog houses out in the yard? Not in boomer households! Boomers pets eat, sleep and do things with their masters. They watch TV, they dress them up, take them to a pet beauty parlor and they even have cemeteries for pets. Pets are a multi-million dollar industry.


Boomers want to save the world. They are ready to help victims of hurricanes, want to save the whales; they want to feel good by contributing to a cause. They go to hospitals to volunteer and take care of the sick. The more causes they support, the better. They are also good for sponsoring events


We have reviewed a few opportunities here but there are hundreds more. Don’t forget the baby boomer market and be smart enough to address it.


One word of advice, if you are a marketer, never call baby boomers “seniors”. That is a bad word in the baby boomer vocabulary and should be stricken from any marketing materials directed at boomers.

Death, my mother and what I learned

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

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Death, my mother and what I learned


“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh” George Bernard Shaw


This has been a very difficult time for me and my family. My dear mother passed away last week after suffering a stroke. She fought a brave fight, never once complaining about her condition. She was hooked to oxygen, IV’s, all kinds of machines and she didn’t complain once. Her nurses where so impressed with her that one of them came in on Saturday to take care of her on her day off.


Yes, my mother was a very brave woman. After the stroke, half her body paralyzed, her mouth tilted to the right, she regained the ability to barely speak. She opened her eyes, looked at me and said three things:

  1. Put your jacket on or you are going to catch a cold.
  2. I am always scolding you.
  3. I love you very much.


Yes, even at my age, she still saw me as a child. Mothers will always see their sons and daughters as children even though they are adults. 


I mean, good mothers. Bad mothers abandon their children and sometimes even kill them, like Andrea Pia Yates did with her five children, drowning them in the bathtub.

For a woman to do that there has to be a real bad case of psychological trauma.


I am a professional speaker but the one speech I wasn’t prepared to give was the one at church on my mother’s funeral right before going to the cemetery.


I decided that the best way to address the hundred and fifty or so people in the audience was to highlight her good qualities and anecdotes about her life.


She was a very positive person all throughout her life. She would always look at the positive side of things, not matter how bleak the situation. I have had moments in my life, like everyone else, where I simply felt pessimistic and yes, my mother would always have a good word, a good gesture, a hug, smile or words that would cheer me on and rescue me from those feelings.


Jim Morrison once wrote about how people feel when they are in pain. He said he believed that people are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. Love is great, but even love will bring lots of pain sometimes. We have to face it, love hurts. I felt so much love for my mother that now that she is gone, it hurts. Sometimes, I think about my daughter or grandchildren and I love them so much that it hurts. As Jim said, “feelings sometimes are to say the least, disturbing”. So true!


Come to think of it, school teaches that pain is evil and dangerous. If that is the case, how can you deal with love if you are afraid to feel? If we look at pain from a different angle, we can see it as a wakeup call, it is mean to wake us up. You shouldn’t hide your pain ever, well, at least most of the time. Pain is like an I pad, you carry it around because you have to, because you need it, because of the strength it gives you.


Yes, you feel your strength in the experience of pain. It is all in how you carry it, how you face it. That is what is important, what matters. Pain is a feeling and your feelings are part of you, your own reality. If you feel ashamed of your own reality or try to hide it, you are letting your own mind destroy your being. You shouldn’t allow that to happen. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain and you should have it very clear in your mind that all pain, and I mean all pain, is temporary.

The natural state of mankind is happiness, fulfillment, and love. Pain is what reminds you of how fortunate you are.


I was thinking about what you learn at school and I realized that there are many important things that they don’t teach you at school. I saw a very interesting list written by a fellow named Neil Geiman.


 He made me think a lot about my school days, in my case, the Sacred Heart Academy in Ponce de Leon Avenue in Santurce.


It was a school run by nuns and I can’t complain since they taught me enough to go on to the University of Puerto Rico and then continue on to graduate school.


But, there were some things the nuns didn’t teach me and they are mentioned by Neil.


They didn’t teach me how to love somebody although they did give me an example of love.


They didn’t teach me how to be famous, not allowing it to get to your head.


They didn’t teach me how to be rich or to be poor. Schools should invent an exercise where you are poor and feel like poor and where you are rich and feel like rich.


I have a friend, Phillip Zimbardo who conducted an experiment in college to teach kids that everyone, when presented with the right circumstances could be very cruel, no matter how decent you are. He wrote “The Lucifer Effect” a book I highly recommend. Students learned a lot from his experiment, even a movie was created about it, but he had to stop it because the students who were playing the part of jailers, forgot that it was an experiment and even tortured students who were playing the part of inmates.


They don’t teach you how to get out of a relationship when you are no longer in love or how to behave when he or she dumps you because you are no longer loved.


They don’t teach you how to know what is going on in someone else’s mind or how to understand their actions that sometimes seem irrational. Yes, not much empathy is taught in schools, don’t you think?

They don’t teach you what to say to someone who is dying like a patient I had when I practiced clinical psychology who called me because she was dying and she didn’t believe in God. That was a tough one alright.


They don’t teach you how to handle the loss of your mother or father. I wonder if that can be taught, maybe not.


And yet, we all have to learn everything the hard way, by experience, by going through the process, through the situation with the hope that you come out of it with more knowledge, sensitivity and a better sense of what it means to be human. That is life.


I end with a poem about death, I don’t know who wrote it but it is very beautiful and it surely applies to my mother:


“I know that death will win this battle and take me away,

Please, I don’t want anyone to weep, because my memories shall stay.

Let it not be said that I gave up without a fight,

Let it not be to all my family and friends, a good bye.

Sorrow and happiness have followed me throughout my life,

But to humankind only smiles have I tried to show,

Let not my death make you sad in an already unhappy world,

Because I lived life through my family’s glorious love,

If in many ways I have touched hearts,

Then I hope that a better world I will leave behind.

For all my friends I have had the honor to have met,

Then my life has not been lived in vain,

So, because of me please do not cry or weep,

Because I have been ready for my death since the day I was born”


May my mother rest in peace.



Monday, November 5, 2012

The Five Pitfalls of Business Failure

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

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The Five pitfalls of business failure and what to do about it.


I had the privilege of speaking to about 300 entrepreneurs that signed up for the “Desarrollo para el Pueblo” Government program for entrepreneurs at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.


It never seizes to amaze me the talent and the creativity of so many people that decide to open a small new business in order to provide services to clients, make money and live a better live.


I was also interviewed by my dear friend, Carmen Jovet who I have been told has attended all 48 previous activities this program has held all throughout Puerto Rico. Yesterday was the celebration of 500 businesses created in the last two years and she was present.


This is why I am dedicating today’s column to all entrepreneurs and business owners. They are a key factor in our future.


Some years ago I did some work for Kent State University out of Detroit and the figures they were publishing were that 50% of new start- ups fail within the first two years and over 90% within five years. I think the odds are better now a days but it is still a very risky proposition for these men and women who sometimes risk everything in order to open their small business.


If someone opens a new business it is because they strongly believe that it is going to be successful. If that is the case, why the high failure rate?


There are many reasons but in today’s article, let’s concentrate in five.


1.     People sometimes start new businesses for the wrong reasons. It is very common for you to ask someone why he or she started the business and the answer might be “to make a lot of money”. Other reasons given are to be independent, to not have a boss, to do what you want to do, etc. These are not good reasons to start a business. How about if you start a business because you have a passion for what you will be doing? You have identified a real need in the marketplace that you can meet and meet it well. You are persistent and have a lot of discipline, two essential characteristics that if you lack, it is impossible to succeed.

2.     Poor management: This might be the most important reason most businesses fail. New business owners usually know how to do the task or perform the service they will be doing in their business.  They are good hair stylists, good cooks, or good salespeople but they lack essential business and management expertise in areas such as finance, inventory control, production, purchasing, managing people and hiring. If you don’t have expertise in these areas, you either have to acquire it before you open the business or you have to hire the right people to help you. And they better be the right people or you are going down the tube. You need a good business and marketing plan and precisely, this government program does exactly that plus funding for your business and periodic follow up by a professional consultant to guide you in the new business. This is why they have such a positive record of businesses that are doing very well. Let’s face it, if you need to borrow money, no banker or financier will give you the money unless you have a good business plan that will convince them that they will be repaid.

3.     Not enough capital. This is often a fatal mistake. Business owners often underestimate how much money they will need in order to be successful in the business. This program I am describing will give loans up to $20,000 and if there is need for more, they will help you find financing.

4.     Location, location, location. In the case of restaurants, retail stores, businesses that need to be found by clients, location is very important. If your business can be done electronically or through the internet, location then is not a factor.

  1. Not having a website, having a lousy website or having a website that no one can find. If you have a business today, you need a good website that can be found by your prospects wherever they are. And make sure that it can be accessed from a mobile device. That site requires different technology than a regular website. I am convinced that every business should be able to sell something through its website. People must be able to find your site, navigate through it easily and then be able to make a purchase either through PayPal or a merchant account. There is now a fabulous new service called where you can accept a payment in your IPhone, I pad or android that is fantastic. Check it out.


Let me end this article with one important question: What is the most important factor for a business to be successful? Now that I think about it, I should have asked the question in my speech yesterday but I didn’t and it could have been a great question for people to think about.

I rarely get the correct answer.

Most people answer: A great idea, a good location, a good product or service, good employees, a good marketing campaign, a good advertising campaign, good prices, etc. etc. etc. Although these are important factors, almost no one mentions the most important which is:

Clients. The most important factor for a business to succeed is to find clients, sell them and keep them. You do that and you will be successful.


Does Honesty Pay? Why are so many people dishonest?

Joachim De Posada

By Joachim De Posada

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Does honesty pay? Why are so many people dishonest?
There is a very funny story going around about the honesty of a kid in an incident with a teacher.

This is how it is told:
My Favorite Animal

Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken."
She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else laughed.
My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal.

I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA.
He said they love animals very much.
I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office.

I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was.
I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken.

She sent me back to the principal's office. He laughed, and told me not to do it again.

I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.

Today, my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most.

I told her, "Colonel Sanders." Guess where I am now...

 Even though this is a very funny story, I think there is a strong message behind it.

 The fact of the matter is that sometimes people get in trouble for being honest.

 In fact, being totally honest could be detrimental to your personal and professional life.

Honesty, you always hear, is the best policy. Even so, it will not catch you by surprise that in reality dishonesty probably rules your life.

 Salespeople lie about their products or services just to make a sale. They rationalize that what is important is to make the sale because that way you will be able to feed your family and if you told the whole truth about the product or service, you might not sell it.

 Husbands and wives (depending who cooks) lie about whether they loved dinner even though it really wasn’t that good. But why fight over it, what will you gain if you do? Maybe he or she won’t want to cook again for you.

 Employees lie about the reason a task assigned is not yet completed or how many calls were received on account of the advertisement they placed on the local newspaper.

 Customer service people lie about warranties, extended warranties, reliability of the product and anything else related to it.

 What about politicians? How can both be telling the truth when what they are saying is exactly the opposite? One of them must be lying or maybe even both.

 In survey after survey about leadership, honesty comes out on top or close to the top on qualities that a leader should possess.

 et, leaders, managers, supervisors and employees lie all the time. We all believe that “a little white lie” is not so bad and makes life easier to cope with.

 Why have fights with your spouse over a dress when it is so much easier to just say “darling, you look wonderful”?

 Why make your neighbor feel horrible over their new car purchase when you tell him how badly that car scored in Consumer Report magazine evaluations of cars?

 My dear readers, it is hard to be totally honest.  And yet, we must all consider if we let ourselves get used to saying things that are “socially accepted” or convenient rather than true that we lose sight of the truth in important areas of our lives.

 I wonder if we are also losing a little bit of our integrity, our values and who we really are.

 What is honesty anyway?

 When you describe honesty, it is fairly simple: truthfulness, sincerity or frankness. Freedom from deceit or fraud. Basically it is what you believe from your own individual perspective.

 This is easy enough to understand when you are stating facts: “the moon is smaller than the earth” is either true or false. Honesty means saying the true thing. It gets more complicated when you are expressing an opinion: chocolate is delicious is not true or false in an absolute sense; it is only true in relation to the taste of the person saying it.

In this case, honesty means declaring your opinion even though for someone else, it is completely false.

 Beyond the dictionary meaning of what the word itself means, there is a way that you can act out honesty in the real world. Honesty is in reality, a characteristic of an act, behavior or personality.  It is the difference between making an honest living or not. A gang member might not tell a single lie in 24 hours but we wouldn’t think that he or she is an “honest” person.

 The bottom line is that honesty is about trust. With your behavior and example, convincing others that you are to be trusted, that your word means something, that others are able to deal with the truth as you tell it.

 There are situations that might lead us to be dishonest although not necessarily:

 We are afraid of being punished for something we did.

We are afraid of hurting another person’s feelings.

We don’t want someone we love to think badly of us.

We are protecting another person

We don’t want someone to do better than us.

We need to need to protect ourselves.

We are protecting another person’s image of ourselves.

We dislike another person.

 These reasons are vague, I know, and they may possibly overlap depending on the situation but my point is to demonstrate that more often than not, dishonesty is provoked by fear or danger.

 So, the salesman lies because he will lose a sale or make a smaller sale. The spouse lies because she is afraid of hurting his partner’s feelings, losing the partner himself or losing some of the benefits of the relationship.

The employee lies because she is afraid of losing her job or being demoted.

The student lies because he is afraid of failing the class.

The gang member lies because he is afraid of being sent to prison or provoking other gang members from other gangs or his own gang to get revenge.

The Doctor lies because he is afraid of being sued or even losing his license to practice medicine.

The politician lies because he wants to make sure he is elected. He will make promises he knows he can’t possible keep. (The sad thing is that even so people vote for him. They just want to hear the promise)

 Think of all the times you might not have told the truth, or the whole truth.

 Think of all the times you have told “white lies”.

 What were you afraid of?

 How does it feel to live in fear? How does it feel to give in to it?

 This is a difficult subject, only you can decide how best to handle it. I can say that honest people establish a reputation and good things happen to them.