Friday, 2 September 2016

Rule 44: Never lie

By on 10:30
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Nigeria's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija  Bukar Abba Ibrahim

This Rule, as in the case of Rule 37; Don’t swear, is very easy.  It sets a limit which you don’t have to think about.  ‘Never lie’ means exactly that – never lie. Under no circumstances do you lie.  Once you have got a reputation as someone who never lies you won’t ever be asked to cover up, or cover for anyone else.

If you do decide to lie for a living you have too many choices and decisions. Where do you draw the line?  Do you only tell little lies? Great big ones?  Do you lie to save yourself?  Others?  Do you lie for the company?  For your boss?  For colleagues?  How developed will your lies be?  Will you add lie to lie when the first lie looks like it’s about to be detected?  Where will you stop this process?  Will you involve other people in your lies? Or will you be a lone liar?

Can you see the problems?  If you have a simple rule – never lie you have a default setting that requires no thought, no choices, no decisions, no alternatives, no picking, and no preferences.

 “You are allowed to talk up your qualities or skills or expertise – just don’t actually tell a lie.  And a lie is anything that can be proved definitely to be wrong”

Not ever lying also saves you from guilt, fear, recrimination, having to remember the lies, the risk of being punished or sacked or embarrassed, ostracizing your colleagues, putting your family in jeopardy, running the risk of a criminal prosecution and not sleeping nights.

Never lie is really the simplest, cleanest, most honest approach to your working life and career.


It is, of course, OK to embellish and hype up your CV or experience or enthusiasm but please don’t actually lie – you will be found out I guarantee it.

If I’m offering a book to a publisher and they ask me what it is like I don’t say, ‘It’s alright I suppose’.  No, instead I say, ‘It’s brilliant, simply brilliant.  It will sell extremely well and might well be the best seller we’re looking for’.  Is any of this a lie?  Not really.  I wouldn’t be writing it if I didn’t think it was brilliant. Will it sell well? It might.  Who am I to know for certain?  It’s a changeable market.  Is it a lie to say it will?  No.

You are allowed to talk up your qualities or skills or expertise – just don’t actually tell a lie.  And a lie is anything that can be proved definitely to be wrong.  To say you are qualified as a software programmer when you aren’t is a lie.  To say you are a wizard at software programming isn’t because it is a matter of opinion rather than fact. But if in doubt – never lie or embellish if you can’t think fast on your feet.

(Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “How to Cover-Up for a friend in a Corporate Environment” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)
Rule-to-Work Series
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