Years ago I read a story of a man named Jack who was taking an archery lesson from a state champion archer. The state champion, Tim, had Jack stand rather close to the target and shoot several arrows with his eyes closed. Tim wanted Jack to feel what it was like to shoot a good shot. Tim would tell Jack when he made a good shot so that Jack could remember what it felt like. After repeating this several times, Jack shot an arrow and looked at Tim for approval. Instead, Tim asked Jack if it was a good shot. Jack hesitated. He wanted to say that it was a good shot, but he immediately realized that Tim knew that it wasn’t a good shot. Before Jack could say anything Tim interjected, “Don’t ever lie to yourself. If you don’t tell yourself the truth first, you’ll never become a good shot.”
This weekend I attended a conference that encouraged a significant amount of self-evaluation. The focus of the self-evaluation was to illuminate areas of life that presented obstacles to personal growth. As I contemplated several aspects of my life, I recalled the story above. It would be easy to minimize any issues I find in my own life, but would that serve me well in the long run? If I lie to myself I short circuit any hope of meaningful progress. I am inspired that there are two absolute necessities to begin a journey of self-improvement.
- I have to be honest with myself. It is easy to deceive yourself. I noticed this in my own life when attempting to lose weight. Unless I keep a log of what I eat, I only have a vague idea of the actual number of calories I am consuming. I can think or even believe every day that I am performing satisfactorily. However, my scale will reveal if I have been deceiving myself! If I refuse to be authentic about my own mistakes, I will bristle at criticism and defend my own actions. While criticism is often difficult to hear, it can be a door of opportunity to change. I resist the truth at my own peril.
- I have to be honest with others. Trusted friends can help me to live up to the standards that I set for myself when I hesitate to follow through. They can also help provide motivation to act when I am reluctant to do so. Sitting down to write is difficult sometimes and I would rather delude myself by thinking I will get to it later. My wife encouraged me to sit down and write this very blog post! One of the most difficult tasks when being honest with others is having to cut off a relationship that is not beneficial. Unfortunately, the circumstances of life necessitate establishing boundaries at times. To not do so puts me in a position that is not beneficial for growth.
I came away from this weekend encouraged by the discoveries I realized in my own life. I embraced the opportunity to be honest and open with both my spouse and several other men. I encourage you to consider your situation. I believe that honesty will help you start walking down the path towards an improved life.
Question: Are you being honest with yourself? In what areas can you benefit from being honest with a trusted friend? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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