The Secret of Life is Honesty and Fair Dealing…


Groucho Marx

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Can the level of your honesty determine your financial well being? The cinema seems to paint a picture of dis-honest dealings pay off well. The cinema also has cartoon movies. Common sense dictates being dis-honest doesn’t pay off. Yes,  maybe you can pull a fast one over someone and get away with it a few times but, by sheer statistics your “luck” will run out.

If you had a choice to buy a product from a honest salesman or a dis-honest salesman, which one would you like to deal with? Most people would like to deal with the honest guy.


I needed an oil change late in the day before the last holiday. The place I normally went to turned off their computers 1/2 hour early before they closed and was unable to change oil while they were open. They asked me to come back tomorrow. I decided it was a good opportunity to try out the other oil change place down the street.


I arrived and they were happy to get started on the oil change. After the oil change they tried to up sell on a few items. I had a couple of issues I was planning on fixing before I went there (bad bulb in one brake light and head gasket replacement) The oil change mechanic spotted those as well as a dirty air filter, dirty transmission fluid, and bad wiper blades. I was amazed because I just replaced the wipers two days prior, so I asked him to show me the dirty filter and dirty fluid. The filter looked clean except for the smudges put on by the mechanic.The fluid looked good as well. I told them I’d bring it to my normal auto shop but, get me an estimate on the head gasket replacement. I wasn’t even considering them for the replacement after the wiper and the air filter stuff but, I wanted to get a price to compare with other shops. The surprises still kept on coming; I apparently needed another gasket replaced and the oil would have to be changed again when that gasket was changed.


I figured if they were dis-honest about the air filter and the wind shield wiper blades replacement (the little things) how correct could they be on the big things like head gaskets? The first shop lost my business by not being open and ready for work during their posted working hours (that dis-honesty cost me the time to drive there and the gas used to get there.) The second shop lost my business by trying to sell me something I didn’t need (wasting my time and trying to commit a mini-fraud).


What if either of these places had been honest? I might be a customer for long term on either of them. How much revenue was lost from me or my friends I tell about my experience? Mistakes happen but, dishonesty is intentional.


What about white lies? The little lies people tell to not hurt someone’s feelings or protect someone from uncomfortable situations. My wife made me some food one evening which I didn’t like.


I had two options: I could have lied to here and said it was great to eat (to not hurt her feelings and protect her from that pain) or I could tell here I didn’t enjoy it at all and never make that again as long as we are together. The price of that “white lie”  to not hurt her feelings would have been bad for both parties involved. She would have been making the dish for the rest of our life together, I would have been eating it for the rest of our life, and even worse it would undermine our communication with each other.


White lies are a dishonesty that people use when they don’t communicate because they are afraid of something. It could be to “hurt” the other person or consequences of something happening or not happening that they fear. In any case one lie gives birth to more lies. Sooner or later the dominoes fall and usually are more hurtful to all parties involved.


Here are some quotes about honesty I would like to finish with:


In Business:


“Concentration is my motto – first honesty, they industry, then concentration.”

– Andrew Carnegie


“Honesty is the single most important factor having a direct bearing on the final success of an individual, corporation or product.”

-Ed McMahon


“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.”

-Zig Ziglar


In Life:


“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

-Thomas Jefferson


“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”

-William Shakespeare



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