If you aren’t familiar with the term or you missed this post, please feel free to check back. The Handy Millennial, as always, will be patiently waiting.
But learning to plan is only one side of the coin when it comes to achieving your goals. The other side is perseverance – and to persevere, you must be honest with yourself, sometimes brutally so. Sooo, today the Handy Millennial would like to tell you, my favorite reader, about honesty and its value when achieving your goals.
To learn how to be honest with yourself so that you can improve your chances at succeeding at your goals, the Handy Millennial recommends some good ol’ fashioned DIY!
What does it mean to be honest?
But let’s begin with Honesty itself. As you know, honesty is a touchy subject! It’s touchy because on one hand we want to think that we should always be honest. In fact, to be honest is probably one of the earliest lessons instilled in you by your parents. Remember this guy?
Did you have one too many cookies? Did you tell a lie about it? Well at this point your mom, probably your mom and not your dad, got a little upset. And you learned that being honest is always best.
But on the other hand, as you grew up, you found out that it isn’t always best to be honest. For example, when your best friend came to school one day with her new favorite hair style but you thought it was ugly, did you think it’s best to be honest?
So what the heck is honesty? Well let’s create a definition for the purpose of this post. Honesty is telling exactly what you saw, did, heard, or thought. You may sometimes omit the truth. For example, when someone asks you if that ugly Christmas sweater is the best or what, you can say that it looks well-made or is so seasonally appropriate (assuming those are true)! But you don’t say it looks great. In order to be honest, you may never make up something you saw, did, heard or thought. You may never say the opposite of what you saw, did, heard, or thought.
In short, honesty, is faithful representation of reality as you saw it, and as best as you remember it.
What is the value of honesty?
But why should we care? Why is it so important to be honest? Well, my dear reader, honesty is important because it helps you to:
Live a simpler and more satisfying life
A major reason to be honest is because it helps you to lead a better life. Don’t believe me? Remember that time in school where you lied about having done your homework? Well it didn’t seem so bad at first, did it? No big deal, got my teacher, mom, and dad off my back. Whew!!!
But the next day there was a quiz, and now instead of knowing the answers (from your homework) you had to guess. And when you guessed, you got it wrong, and now you had to find a way to explain your bad grade. And when you explained your bad grade you told your parents about how mean the teacher is, and how unfair her grading is. And that was OK, until the parent teacher conference came!
And then you had to explain to your parents that it’s OK and they don’t have to address it with the teacher.
And then… And then…
You see my dear reader, being dishonest once leads to slew of dishonesty that drags you down and forces you to spend more and more energy maintaining something that never was. It really is kind of like compound interest, which as usual the Handy Millennial would like to earn and not pay.
Have a realistic start point for your thinking
The second reason that honesty is important is that honesty gives you a solid starting point for your thinking. Imagine if instead of honestly remembering your salary and your budget, you imagined your salary and planned a very big vacation… oh wait, that actually happens!!
Or imagine if you didn’t honestly tell yourself, this car runs on gas. So instead, you dishonestly told yourself that this car runs on water. Why? Well because water is free and you’re being cheap, let’s say. Well in that case you would watch in amazement as your car sputters and the engine becomes totally destroyed. That would a very expensive case of dishonesty.
You see, my dear reader, making decisions and acting from a point of dishonesty is more like stacking a house of cards than strategic thinking.
How does honesty help you to plan and achieve plans?
So honesty is very important both to free up your energy so that you can focus on your plans, and to give you a place of solid reasoning from which to achieve your goals. But how exactly does honesty help you achieve your goals?
Well we already touched on the first one: it gives you a realistic starting point. For example, suppose the Handy Millennial wants to start a blog. Great! Step 1, what does the Handy Millennial know about blogs? Dishonest answer: Tons! I’ve read all of them!
To this lie, I will respond with one of my dad’s favorite sayings “If you could learn by looking, then the dog would be the best butcher.” I rest my case.
Honest answer: Squat! The Handy Millennial knows what he likes to read. The Handy Millennial does not know what may other people like to read. He does not know how blogs work, who pays for blogs, how to set up a blog, how to market a blog.
In short, the Handy Millennial is a bit like this guy.
Now once we have an Honest answer, then we can move forward with similar questions when planning a path and learning the right skills. So for example, “What kind of technical skills does one need to have to create a blog?” Honest Answer: “A little knowledge about general computing, a bit of knowledge about how cloud servers work, and lots of knowledge about the WordPress platform.”
The importance of giving yourself honest answers is that it will lead you to grow as a person and to increase your skill set. But please note, this is both important and hard! Now why is that?
Well my dear reader, it’s because we instinctively shrink away from pain and learning, and growth requires both. Now this isn’t pins under your nails kind of pain; it’s mental pain. It’s the pain that you feel when you ask yourself “Why am I really budgeting? I already know where my money goes.” No, if you don’t have it documented so that you can be certain, you don’t. Give yourself the Honest answer – “I have no idea what’s going on and I must sit here and figure it out!”
There are more lies that we tell ourselves. Here is another good one, “If only I was as smart as those egg heads in Silicon Valley I’d know how to program.” Lies! You want to program? Go to Coursera.com and take some classes. Don’t believe it can be done? Visit my friend over at millennialboss.com and see how she did it.
Actually that last lie is instructive. Lies that we tell ourselves often have a formula to them, “I would do ___________ if only I could _________ but I can’t because _________.” When you catch yourself being dishonest like this, you need to put an immediate end to it. Because this is only the true way to grow as a person and to grow your skill set.
The key here is knowing that you are smart enough, beautiful enough, and motivated enough. This world is built for humans and I’m going to make a big assumption here, if you’re reading this – that’s YOU!
Why DIY is the best way to cure dishonesty
Which brings us to the Handy Millennial’s favorite topic. DIY. Why? Because the Handy Millennial loves to proselytize about DIY. I’m only half-joking here. DIY is awesome because it saves you money (small party) but even moreso because it forces you to confront your shortcomings (big party!!!).
So how is that Mr. Handy Millennial? Well you see my dear reader, this guy doesn’t give a #$%@ about your excuses:
He doesn’t care if you think you know how to do mechanics. He doesn’t care if you’ve seen someone else do it. He doesn’t even care about you. If you want get that bad boy off, and you want to move forward, then you had better admit to yourself Honestly what you know and what you don’t.
You need to admit to yourself the steps you have to take, and the skills you need to learn. In fact, when you DIY, it’s you and the task. You can sit around saying beautiful lies about what a great handyman/woman you are, but the job simply won’t get done until you admit your shortcomings.
But here is the good news. Honesty, like everything else, is a habit. Once you allow yourself to be honest with your self about your shortcomings and what you need to do, things start to improve. Every time you honestly face a task you become stronger. You become willing to execute your plans and to move yourself forward.