“Reality is always your friend, everything else is a fantasy.”
“There are a lot of honest, non-fudging people that are not reaching their potential. The reason is not that they are lying but that they are missing parts of reality that are important to making things work.”
Those are a couple of the quotes hitting me from the book Integrity, the Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud that I am reading. I am getting a lot out of a book and will be summarizing it here. Below is a summary of two chapters on our orientation toward truth. David
From Integrity, the Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud.Summary by David Barfield, January 2009. For my full summary: Integrity-includes-being-oriented-toward-truth.doc
From Chapter 7 – In Touch with Reality
• Being “oriented toward truth” concerns honesty, ethical behavior, and this is a foundation of it, but not the whole of it. It includes the ability to be honest, even in difficult situation, esp. then. It involves not fudging, even if it does not hurt someone.
• To hide truth when there are potential consequences is part of human nature and sadly one that usually makes us incur more negative consequences than if we had told the truth.
• “The consequences of deceit are usually greater than the ones of truth.”
• Truth 101 = tell the truth and to give a representation of reality to others as best one understand it.
Truth 201 and above
• Yet there are a lot of honest, non-fudging people that are not reaching their potential. The reason is not that they are lying but that they are missing parts of reality that are important to making things work. In the kind of successful character we are talking about [in this book], the integrated whole character, a grasp of truth is always present and increasing.
• “Reality is always your friend, everything else is a fantasy.”
• “For us to get results in the real world, we must be in touch with what is, not what we wish things were, or think things should be or are led by others to believe they are. The only thing that is going to be real in the end is what is”
• Confront the Brutal Facts.
• High achievers face reality and deal with it [rather than blame others; circumstances; excusing self].
• We can only make the universe we live in better by facing how it really is.
• But to get in step with reality, we must see it as it really is first.
From Chapter 8 – What people in touch look like
• Rich Warren’s example in starting a church. “What he did, instead [of assuming he knew what he was doing; what people wanted/needed in a church], was go door-to-door and ask people why they didn’t go to church. Then, he built a church that had none of those reasons.” He did not assume or think or act as if he knew what reality was. Instead, he sought it.
• “The people who see reality as their friend, however, do not assume they have a grasp on it.”
• Story of an executive of Proctor and Gamble who went to China and spent some time with them, working to understand them and how they thought. He learned how the Chinese view teeth (hard, impenetrable). This allowed them to correct this misunderstanding and sell their toothpaste. What accomplished that? Character. It has his character that did not assume that he knew it all.
• People who have an orientation toward truth seek it out.
• The opposite of actively seeking truth is avoidance.
• There are three types of truth to be sought:
1) Truth about our world. What is the world really like? Are there new realities to deal with?
2) Truth about themselves. They don’t wait for feedback but seek it. They see feedback, even difficult (maybe esp. so) as a gift.
o This is how we find out our strengths and weaknesses.
o We excel by maximizing our strengths and finding ways around our weakness.
o The less we look at our shortcomings, the more other do.
o While it is natural to do so, we must not be afraid of find the truth about ourselves: that we have faults to do with, the my view of myself is fixed in non-reality or an old reality, that I lack skills I need to find, etc.
o Ask people for 100% of their feedback as it is often the last 10% they hold back as it is difficult that is the most helpful and needed to be the best you can be. Sometimes that feedback can be a positive we do not want to embrace as it would require us to take responsibility for it.
3) Truth about other people. We can be blind about others when we are emotionally invested in them somehow (a boy or girl friend, a child, someone we hired, etc).
• “Wise people are ‘cautions in friendships’ as the proverb says. They seek to get to know a person clearly, as the person truly is, before they hire him, marry him, become partners with him, or divorce him, fire him, or not go forward with him. We can be off in either direction, and the complete character is always asking, ‘Is this me, or him?’”
• Judgment and Emotional States – we need the ability to control one’s thinking when emotions are inflamed
• Often when we see things as wholly black or white, we miss a lot of reality.
• “Resolving conflict is more than difficult, as resolutions usually requires an ability to see and work with the truth from the other side and integrate it into yours, finding a solution that transcends either polarity.”
• Seeing It Differently: The Ability to Assimilate and Accommodate
o It is a good thing for your view of the world to be the real one. But it is often not or it is incomplete.
o We need the ability to make external reality our own. First, to change, we need new information (assimilation). Second, we need to make room for it in our view of the world.