I’ve spent the last 3 years writing a book about honesty.
To me, it’s the most obvious topic I could ever choose to write about. Honesty saved my life. It gave me confidence. It helped me find the woman of my dreams. It built a successful coaching business that’s so enjoyable I’m embarrassed to call it “work”.
Yet, surprisingly, as I go about promoting the release of the book, one of the most common questions I’m being asked is: “Why honesty?”
It seems that it’s not immediately obvious to others why anyone would want or need to write a book on this topic. Or why people should read it.
Fair enough. So allow me to explain why I dedicated thousands of hours to this topic, and indeed have decided to essentially make Honesty my own personal religion – why every day I wake up and spend my life worshipping the god of Integrity.
#1: Honesty Reduces Shame
Perhaps the single most important reason to give more consideration to honesty is about its relationship to shame. Shame is when you believe that something true about you is “wrong” or “bad”.
Dishonesty is the cause of shame. Whenever you hide your true thoughts, feelings, beliefs, intentions or desires, you are telling yourself that they are “wrong”. Imagine if you told someone else to shut up every time they tried to express themselves. You’d call that “bullying”, right? Well, when you lie you bully yourself.
When you’re honest about what’s true, even when it’s embarrassing, disgusting, awkward, or whatever, you give it validation. You’re saying, “This is OK to be shared”. Do this enough times, and your shame will go away.
Ever wondered where that “I’m not good enough” story in your head comes from? Dishonesty. Being more open, bold and vulnerable about your hidden self will eliminate this story almost completely. Wouldn’t that be nice?
#2: Honesty Builds Connections
Most people play it safe socially. They say nice, interesting, cool, attractive things to make people like them. They think this is a good way to build a social circle.
I spent 25 years being a highly effective people-pleaser. I could make you laugh, solve your problems, tell captivating stories, and prevent conflict. I was nice to be around and everyone liked me.
So then why did I always feel so anxious and alone?
Being fake to make people like you might seem like it gets results, but all it does is trick people into liking a facade of who you are. They have a friendship or relationship with that facade, while the real you can only watch from behind the curtain.
If you want to feel truly connected and intimate with someone, you’ll have to come out from your hiding place. This means showing real emotions, hard truths, uncomfortable beliefs, and anything else you’ve been taught to hide to make people feel more comfortable.
Yes, the more honest you are, the more some people won’t like you. But on the other hand, the more some people will LOVE you. It’s hard to believe at first, but showing your true colors is the only way to find real connection.
#3: Honesty Builds Self-Confidence
My biggest fear growing up wasn’t death or public speaking. It was confrontations. Even the thought of getting into a heated argument with someone would choke me up completely.
I always assumed that confrontations – the heated discussion caused by hard truths being revealed – were dangerous and likely to kill a connection.
What I didn’t realise was that avoiding confrontations was a sure-fire way to destroy my self-worth. I wasn’t standing up for myself, revealing my true opinions. I had denied myself free speech.
In my mid-twenties, I realised it was time for a change, and that I had to face my biggest fear. So I started standing up to people and speaking my mind more controversially.
I was amazed at how incredibly powerful I felt! I would walk away from confrontations feeling bulletproof, even if I “lost” the debate. The social anxiety that I had felt every single day since being a child just dissolved away, until one day I woke up and realised it was gone.
And it hasn’t come back.
Nothing has been more powerful for my self-worth than learning how to have honest confrontations. And nothing has improved my relationships more either.
#4: Honesty Creates Self-Awareness
You’re not as honest as you think you are.
One of my dilemmas with writing this book is knowing that the people who most need to read it probably won’t, because they already mistakenly think of themselves as honest people.
We are, unfortunately, able to lie to ourselves. And one of the first lies we tell ourselves is that we’re “basically honest”. We all like to think of ourselves as “good people”, so because being dishonest doesn’t align with being good, we trick ourselves into ignoring our dishonesty.
When you don’t realise that you’re dishonest, you won’t be able to tackle the main cause of your confidence and social issues.
Politeness is dishonest. Being nice is a manipulation. Apologies are usually hiding true feelings. Being professional in the workplace is a total performance. Slowly getting to know someone usually requires a bucket-load of lies.
But you talk yourself into believing that your dishonesty is justified and necessary, so therefore doesn’t really count as lying, like when you tell yourself “I don’t want to hurt their feelings”.
You can’t hope to be a highly confident person if you’re ignorant of your true self. Trying to become more honest will show you where you’re not. Painful as it sounds, it’s actually the pathway to enlightenment – admitting to dishonesty is the first step toward figuring out who you really are.
#5: Honesty is Highly Attractive
You’ve probably been raised to believe that you can’t reveal your true self if you want to get the girl.
I don’t know which coward first came up with this excuse for playing mind-games and avoiding rejection, but it’s total bullshit.
Sure, if you present yourself shamefully and apologetically it won’t exactly turn people on. That’s why in my book I talk about the principles of Powerful Honesty, so you can learn how to show who you really are in a bold, responsible, leader-of-the-pack kind of way.
Just look at Russell Brand. There’s a good reason why he’s such a hit with the ladies. He just speaks his mind shamelessly whenever it pleases him to do so. He never hides his feelings or opinions, and never really tries to make people like him.
Same with Will Smith. Same with Joe Rogan. Same with Tom Hardy. Same with Mark Manson.
The idea that you need to pretend to be an alpha male, or play indirect psychological tricks, or memorise scripts and routines to get the girl is just some bullshit made up by guys who were too scared to put their real selves on the line and take some risks.
Yes, you’ll get more “rejections” being honest, but at least then you’ll avoid investing in women who aren’t a good fit for you. And when a girl says Yes to the REAL you, you’re free to keep being yourself without ever needing to worry that you’ll lose her.
#6: Honesty Role-Models Integrity
Surely, you must agree we need more integrity in the world these days!
Our politicians are so untrustworthy hardly anyone even wants to vote anymore. Social media companies are constantly deceiving and manipulating us. News media are just click-bait whores trying to make us argue with each other. Social justice warriors are trying to eliminate free speech.
We need some more genuine leaders who are willing to give us the hard truths. We need men who are willing to stand up for the truth. We need people of integrity who are willing to do what’s right instead of what’s easy.
The most direct path to becoming one of these magnificent beasts is to work on being more bravely honest.
When you’re powerfully honest, you embarrass the tricksters and scammers and bullshitters and virtue-signallers. You show them for the pathetic cowards they really are. You give other people hope that maybe some men can be trusted.
#7: Honesty Reduces Hypocrisy
It blows my mind how many people hate being lied to but when it suits them they’re happy to lie themselves. And on top of this, how many people hate hypocrites and yet commit this hypocrisy on a daily basis.
Do you like being deceived and manipulated? No? Then why are you doing it to other people? You can’t hope to fully respect yourself as a man if you’re also a major hypocrite.
Now, as humans we can’t help contradicting ourselves from time to time, but at least as a honest person you’ll only do it very occasionally.
Honesty is more than just words, it’s a way of life. You can change from being someone who talks about how people ought to be and instead be a role-model.
Show people integrity by just being more honest. Show people their own hypocrisy by modelling congruence and integrity.
Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Practice what you preach. Walk the talk… and, um, some other cliche that means be more honest.
#8: Honesty Stands Out in The Crowd
In a world full of people trying to get likes on social media, no one really stands out. It seems like almost everyone is either an attention-seeker, a people-pleaser, a wallflower, or a con artist.
Honest people are exceptional.
There are so few radically honest people in the world that I can literally count my honesty role-models on my fingers.
In business, you quickly learn that to be successful you need to find a specific niche to specialise in. The beauty of being honest is that you automatically create a niche with zero competition.
There is no one doing exactly what I do, because there is no one the same as me. I don’t have to compete for clients. There’s only one “Coaching with Dan” available. You’ll never experience my kind of coaching with someone else, because all I do in my sessions is be completely honest with my clients.
The same applies to your social world. You could choose to be just another instagram model, or crossfit guy, or IPO nerd, or gamer, or sportsfan… OR, you could be something completely unique, i.e. YOU.
As you speak your mind honestly, an identity will start to form that has never existed before. Not only that, it will be so outstanding and unique that you’ll have no issue standing out in the crowd.
Fuck trying to fit in.
#9: Honesty Eliminates Manipulation
You can’t blackmail a guy with no secrets.
Take a moment to really consider that. If you have nothing to hide, no-one can fuck with you. No one can cancel-culture your ass if you’ve already told the world everything.
I spent 7 years working in the Department of Corrections, face to face with some of the most manipulative psychopaths in New Zealand. At first, I tried to out-manipulate them, but I lost every time because you just can’t beat a psychopath at the game.
But then one day, I learned a secret: people can only manipulate you if you have something to hide. Specifically, if you hide how they make you feel.
Salesmen pressure you into purchasing something you don’t actually want because you’re too embarrassed to say “You’re making me uncomfortable”.
Hot girls trick you into buying their drinks all night because you’re too nervous to say “I’m really attracted to you and want to take you home”.
Your parents guilt-trip you into continuing with the university course you’ve lost interest in because you’re too scared and loyal to say “I don’t want to live the life you’re forcing me to live”.
When you start being honest about how people make you feel, you completely disable their ability to control you. I know it doesn’t sound logical, but take it from me: this is what successfully works to outmaneuver paedophiles, gang presidents and serial killers!
#10: Honesty Creates an Authentic Life
When people live a lie – like I did as a Nice Guy people-pleaser for 25 years – they end up creating a lie-world around them.
Their friendships and relationships are based on lies. Their career is founded on people-pleasing and neediness. Their hobbies, travel and interests are all motivated by hidden intentions.
It’s like acting in a movie… nothing’s real!
If you want friends that love you as you are, girls that are attracted to your genuine personality, and a job and hobbies that you thoroughly enjoy, you’re going to have to tear down your lie-world and rebuild it with honesty.
I’ve lost a bunch of friends and found new ones. I had to quit my job and start my own business. I went from playing in a metal band to becoming a gold-medal Zouk dancer. I married a girl from the other side of the world. THIS is what becoming more honest did to my life over the course of a decade.
Nowadays, I can be myself without any resistance. Everyone either loves me for who I am or they fuck off out of my life without me even noticing. The more I speak my mind, the better my business performs. I basically do whatever I want.
I’m not special, I’ve just practiced honesty for a long time. Anyone can do this if they’re brave enough.
It’s hard to get here, but once you create an authentic lifestyle, it’s totally worth the discomfort of being more honest.
Get the book!
So, standard plug here of course: if you want to check out the book and get all the above benefits for yourself, order your copy here: https://www.brojo.org/pub/the-naked-truth-honesty-confidence-connections-integrity
Dan Munro is a confidence coach and founder of Brojo, a mens personal development group. He is the #1 Bestselling Author of “The Legendary Life: Build the Motivation and Confidence to Create an Authentic Lifestyle, “Nothing to Lose” and his latest book “The Naked Truth.”