I am just keeping you honest…

Huh? Really? What do you think I’m doing dishonestly?

If that is the basis of our relationship, then maybe something needs to change, or one of us needs to go.

In my world

I have heard this before when I’ve asked one of my customers why he is shopping his account and bringing in other brokers to quote against me.

Why would I be dishonest, I work for you. Either you have coverage or you don’t. Was I dishonest when the company paid a $1.82 million dollar claim for the fatality your driver caused?

What if I would not have recommended buying higher liability limits? How bad would that have hurt your business if you had to stroke that check out of your bank account?

Was it being dishonest because I got paid more for selling additional coverage?

I don’t even set the rates, the insurance company does; and you don’t even pay me directly, it’s the company that sends you a bill.

Why I never……

Of course, if prospects never shopped then I wouldn’t have many opportunities to acquire new business, huh? I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too I suppose.

Ok, holier than thou…

Trust me, I’m not perfect; not even close. I am no better than you and don’t purport to be.

Two things I try very hard not to be however, is judgmental and hypocritical.

Yes, I am perfectly ok you judging me by my ‘body of work,’ my track record of who I am and what I stand for. If I were ever to run for political office I’m sure there is skeleton or two to be found, but it sure won’t be because I stole anything.

If I have to tell you I’m honest, is that kind of like me telling you I am a guru?

But this really gripes my ass

People who take advantage of other people, especially when they use the religion card and faith to gain someone’s trust.

Because most people really want to believe so much and they associate with like-minded people, they assume these are good people and will only do the right thing.

You know what they say when you assume something, right?

Ass….u….me…..nuff said.

There was a story in our local paper about a church official who is now hiding missing after allegedly stealing over $50,000 from his 400 member church.

Oh yeah, he also happens to be running for Osceola County Clerk of the Courts. His platform? This is a direct quote; “my platform is very basic and is based on honesty and integrity, living every day by my oath of office once elected to this very public-trust office.”

I almost spit my coffee. Really? Did he just utter that statement while he was actively allegedly stealing from his church?

Some religions seem more susceptible than others, but without calling any particular one out you can certainly find plenty of cases where this occurred across all religions.

It just make you shake your head.

Is that forgivable?

Money, or lack thereof can make you do some things you normally wouldn’t think you would do. It appears some of these people, once they dipped their toe in the water, there was no turning back.

However, when you are knowingly doing this and know it will hurt others, sometimes in a devastating way; is there an appropriate punishment?

I know I can be naive and very trusting, but I certainly like to look for the good in people. Maybe it’s not a bad to thing to keep me honest. Not just for me, but for every relationship.

It’s sad to have to do that, but we have to be realistic too.

If I have nothing to hide then I shouldn’t be offended from someone keeping me honest, right?

My rant for the week

There are charlatans all around, even within these hallowed halls of social. It distresses me when I see people taken advantage of because they were trusting, and had no reason not to trust.

Can’t we just treat others like we would want to be treated?



80 thoughts on “I am just keeping you honest…

  1. It used to be a little better pre-internet, I think. In the days when people actually met and shook hands and hugged and laughed together, punched each other playfully and saw each others’ teeth. A friend of mine was telling me that when we met more often, we were less judgmental probably because we knew what was going on a little more intimately. Now with communication made easier with technology, people find it easier to make excuses. I am not sure if I agree with that, but reality sure seems like it. My non-agreement relates to the fact that it might be unintentional. Finally it boils down to the individual’s nature. Social or no social, it is their basic nature. 🙂

    After all, we usually start out positively and ready to trust.

    • Certainly the more you get to know someone, you can assess their value system relatively easy. However, there are some out there who are con artists to the core, and will take your money and not lose a wink of sleep over it.

      Online allows for a certain level on anonymity and even though we ‘think’ we know someone, it might not always be the case.

      Regardless, I do try not to pre-judge until I feel I really know someone. I’m also tight with my money however, and it would be hard for anyone to get over $20 out of me anyway….:).

      I will certainly give someone the benefit of the doubt until you do something to prove otherwise.

      Good to see you Vidya.

  2. A quotation from one of my favorite books (one that’s unfortunately co-opted by people I certainly want no affiliation with):

    She had learned… that honest people were never touchy about the matter of being trusted.”
    — Atlas Shrugged (p. 876)

      • Fair enough – I should never comment from my phone, or before coffee.

        It’s unfortunate that Ayn Rand’s novels have become the banner for certain political views and people I don’t think even read the books; I understood them differently than many of her fans seem to have. Which is where my parenthetical statement comes from, and has nothing particularly to do with the post at hand.

        It just seems to me that honest people don’t worry about being questioned or having their facts checked, or even admitting when they’re wrong. Because they weren’t wrong on purpose – they may be fallible and incorrect, sometimes, but it’s not a character flaw so they needn’t be touchy about it.

        Bill should certainly interpret it as my agreement with him. It’s sad that we can’t trust other people 100% and merely take them at their word, but honest people won’t be offended when people are wary. (Maybe the way it’s phrased, “Keeping me honest” is what rankles a bit, but as my dad used to say, “Locks are only to keep honest people honest” – thieves and liars will always find a way.)

      • I guess it is inherent in a sales position that people might think salesmen are just out to make the most money they can. It doesn’t bother me when someone says that, but I will ask them if they think I am being dishonest. That’s when the hem-hawing starts and it comes out they just want to make sure they are getting the best price.

        Our whole premise at Lanier Upshaw is way more than price and trying not to be viewed as just a vendor, but we (as an industry) have brought that on ourselves.

        I take my profession and what I do very seriously. Yes, I joke around quite a bit, but when it comes to insurance, integrity, and doing what’s best for the customer; if you are consistent with that, you will never have to second-guess your decisions.

        If you have nothing to hide, then it really doesn’t matter who is looking through your closets, right?

        To follow what your dad said, I have seen good people do bad things when tempted w/ access to money. And it usually starts small and then they can never go back…..

      • Yes, too many people in sales have brought it on the whole profession – I think that’s a fair assessment. It’s not YOUR fault. I think it’s interesting – when someone asks if I think they’re being dishonest, my first impulse is to politely deny it. Then I’m a little irked, I guess, that they need to put me on the spot like that. I find myself in the position of telling little white lies – which makes me dishonest, too. It’s not personal if I want to shop around, do some research, think on it overnight, make sure I’m not going to make a decision I regret – and I end up feeling a little hostile at being pressured. Not saying you apply that kind of pressure – just basing this on my personal experience with a similar reaction.

        In fact, it could make the salesman’s job ten times harder than it has to be, in the long run. My husband buys his cars from one particular dealership, and has generally had the same salesman each time. They get along fine. He wanted me to look for my car there (last one I bought, back in 2004). I did. He had other things to do, so I took him home and went back to see if I could make a deal. I had found one I liked (more or less), and wanted a test drive and negotiations. Got the test drive. Said, “Let’s go see if we can make a deal.” Salesman said, “Does your husband need to be here to approve?”

        Well, no. And I don’t know – maybe it was a fair question, maybe not. But at that point, that man lost the sale. What he didn’t know is that the ONLY reason, really, that I’d agreed to look at this brand of car is that the salesmen at the Toyota dealership (I’d wanted a Prius) would not even TALK to me because I was there with my daughter and not my husband. The Scion dealer next door took me for a test drive, and when we got back, they were selling the model I’d wanted to a couple who had walked up later – after we’d TRIED to find someone to wait on us.

        I bought a Honda. Funny thing, though – five years earlier? Their salesman had p***ed me off doing the same exact thing.

        I’m not sure that has much to do with honesty or dishonesty, but it has to do with trust and not setting up an adversarial relationship with clients before you even start negotiating. Trust your clients to make intelligent, informed decisions after you’ve intelligently informed them. 🙂

        I’ve been with one insurance company for over 30 years. Trust. Counts for a lot.

    • And take the ‘shopping’ scenario a step further; what if they find they are able to get other coverage cheaper? Does that mean I have been ripping them off the whole time? The classic line is ‘well, we can do that too.’ Really? Why didn’t you do it the first time then?

      In my world, I have very little control over final pricing. I can assure you however, I am trying to get the lowest possible price I can and hope that it’s good enough.

      Great car story, sounds like a post to me….

      • If all they’re interested in is the lowest price, and you can’t reasonably match that, and they don’t appreciate whatever it is (relationship, professionalism, trustworthiness, reputation, service) that differentiates you from the competition, then maybe it’s better for you, in the long run, that they go with the competition. I could get cheaper insurance ANY day. But I can’t COUNT on getting 30 years of reliable service if I switch. I AM concerned that I no longer know our agent – two have retired in all this time! But I have no reason at the moment NOT to think this one’s just as good.

  3. Hey Bill,

    Nothing surprises me anymore and as you’ve pointed out, we’ve all fallen short and have made mistakes.

    If you’ve learned and become a better person for it, good for you.

    If you think you’re better than everyone else because you haven’t made any; good for you too – pride always comes before a fall :p

    People who are like this make me sick. I would much rather associate with people who have made mistakes and have become better for it, than hang people who think they’re holier than thou…

    If you want to find the most corrupt individuals on the planet, who basically sell out their soul for what they do, look no further than our elected officials.

    Broken system, broken people who are basically run by money and power.

    Hmmm, Adams and Washington warned us of this, yes?

    It makes me chuckle to hear the Republican/ Democrat argument. People are stupid. Our problems go way deeper than any party can fix or that either can take credit for.
    Wilson said this:

    “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.” -Woodrow Wilson, after signing the Federal Reserve into existence

    I guess someone must have been holding a gun to his head..?

    In all things, judge yourself. Hold yourself accountable to the things you believe. Never hold others on a pedestal; like all humans, they are fallible and they will only let you down.

    What others do doesn’t really matter. What you do is all that matters in life. You have to live with yourself. And if you want to make the world a better place, roll up your sleeves and get busy!

    The only way an individual who says they care can demonstrate that is by the way they live and the actions they take today and everyday towards themselves and others.

    You have to be willing to fight for what you believe.

    Most people are just full of shit and are real good at lip service. They are quick to point out the shortcomings of others, while they’re sitting on their asses doing nothing about it; or they’re elected officials, like the one you pointed out, who believe they have a license to steal from others.

    Oh crap… I just committed a rant, and your blog Bill!

    My apologies sir!

    See what you started?

    P.S. So you’re a trusting soul Bill? I can’t help myself either; it’s just part of my nature… A trusting soul is sure to have their ass handed to them at some point in life, usually more than once… Just sayin.

    • Can I use this for my Wed/Thurs post?

      Good job sir; I wasn’t aware that was Woodrow Wilson’s speech, but how appropriate, huh? I say let’s get rid of the two-party system because it is so divisive right now it will take a miracle to fix it.

      I have many acquaintances and my share of n’er do well friends; however, I know what they are and act accordingly. I also have some friends who do incredible things when no one is looking, and I just know there is real goodness in their hearts.

      Yes, fight for what’s right and for what you believe and don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves.

      You know about the kids I work with; I want to trust them and hope a light switch will flip for them, but they still stumble time after time regardless of how much faith you put in them. I just don’t want to get cynical; I’m still a glass half-full guy.

    • Yes, the people who have been down, done wrong are usually the ones who now ‘get it’ and are happy to have that second chance.

      I’ve seen some pretty slick holier than thou ones in church who I would never do business with because I don’t trust them. I guess they are the ones who need to be in church, right?

  4. Hi Bill, I would be horrible at your job. First the sales part would be incredibly challenging, but then having your work shopped around and having your integrity questioned would be frustrating as well.

    But is having your product shopped around a necessary evil of the business? If companies are struggling and are under pressure to cut costs, then they may be obligated to look around. Even if you are giving A+ service, companies may no longer be able to afford the premiums, even though your coverage could save them money in the long run.

    But there isn’t an excuse for someone questioning your integrity.

    Just a thought.

    • Quit being so sensible…….

      Yes, and especially in my arena where a business’s insurance premiums are their largest budget item next to employee costs, guess what get’s looked at first when they need to cut? Our premise is different, because the insurance premium is really only about 50% of their total cost of risk, but it is the most easily identifiable.

      The other thing, say a company is paying $100,000 a year; they’ve shopped it every other year but you have always been competitive at that level. However, you always beat the carrier up to get the lowest price so you know there is no meat left on that bone. The fifth year, here comes a new player invited to the dance. They bring in a company who you also represent, but they turned it down for you 2 years ago when you offered it to them so you didn’t go back. In the world of property & casualty they will only release one quote to one broker. But guess what, this guy comes in at $70,000.

      First of all you are mad your own company sold you out, and where in the heck did they come up with this pricing? Sumbich……..yes, this is why people shop.

      If this wasn’t inherit in our business, we would never have any opportunities to write new business, huh?

      I know some unscrupulous agents, but we don’t play that game. Usually that comes back to bite them and creates another opportunity for us.

      I always do what’s best for my customer, and I sleep very well at night.

  5. Not judgemental. Not hypocritical. I think you just took the fun out of the Internet for a lot of people.

    I think the more people feel the need to wrap themselves in credibility factors that are outside of the scope of the discussion — bringing “good family man” into a business deal, for instance — the more one might want to be extra careful with the due diligence. Not a hard rule by any means, but a general one.

    Trust, but verify — eh?

    • For some, that’s their whole premise, right?

      I’m certainly in no position to be telling people what to do or what is right and wrong. I just need to take care of my own stuff because that I can control.

      Even in our own agency, I have seen people essentially been given the keys to the car before they ‘earned’ their way in. Most times it has not worked out well……but he was such a nice guy and had such a pretty wife…………

      Some people are very easily fooled.

      It’s never bad to have the proper checks and balances in place when it comes to handling money. It’s too much of a temptation and will make people do silly things….

  6. My personal test comes every night. If I can close my eyes and feel good about what I did that day things are going pretty well. If I close my eyes and know that I fell short, I feel ‘less good.’

    That is intentionally ambiguous, but it still makes the point. Sometimes we just blow it and I have.

    • Oh trust me, I have ‘blown’ it a time or two. No stones will be cast from this glass house, that’s for sure.

      However, I do try to do the right thing and treat people like I want to be treated; if I do that, then I sleep well indeed.

  7. Hey Bill,

    I continue to shake my head when I hear of the dishonesty that some people have been responsible for. It seems like more and more people think they are entitled to their “share” even if it’s stealing from honest people. Like it’s our fault they’re in the position they are. Then there are those people who are just greedy.

    I know what you mean when being questioned about your honesty. Because there are so many crack pots in this world today most people are just leery. When it comes to your profession though I would think your results speak for themselves. I think for those people who may have been taken to the bank a time or two are probably a lot more leery of this then others. We all get lumped into that one category I’m afraid.

    Now that’s just plain old sad. 😦 Seems to be the way of the world now days.

    • Yes, I know some ‘bad’ salespeople personally. Unfortunately when you come in behind them it might take a year or two to show your customer you operate entirely differently. Insurance with their renewals are too circular; what goes ’round comes ’round so it doesn’t take too long to see who’s credible and who’s not. Also unfortunately, doesn’t mean these people don’t have success.

      I will continue to take the high road and do what’s best for my customer. If sometimes my premium is ‘too high’ for factors beyond my control, then there is not much I can do about that. I’ll let the customer decide how much is too much difference.

  8. If you look yourself in the mirror, see eye to eye and smile yourself to sleep; then there is no worrying.

    Some people are crazy, they say all sorts of things, don’t listen to them. Tell them to see a shrink! 😉

  9. So, I had this project once where we renovated the offices for Universal Music in Toronto. We were is a meeting with the client and were trying to sell them on a particularly challenging idea for their new space. The guy across the table was a seasoned veteran of the music industry and by his look had seen his share of business deals (among other things).

    After we presented the initial ideas to him the first question out of his mouth was “Tell me how I know I am going to like what you are proposing?” The design Principle in the meeting with me looked at him and said, “Trust me.” After a few seconds our client replied, “I’m from LA. Do you know what trust me means in LA?” After no response from us, he looked at us and said “F**k You!”

    I will never forget that moment. He was kidding and let us go ahead anyway. Somehow he had faith in us. Weird that.

    • Only in LA, huh? Or New York or you name it.

      There are some business people around town I will not grace their doors. I don’t care how much their premium is, I will never (yes, never) do business with them. I don’t respect them and the way they treat people and have hurt people financially. How they are still able to operate beats the heck out of me……..

      As I stated, I’m certainly not perfect but when it comes to my customers (my pay check) I really always try to do what’s best for them. I have even recommended a customer choose someone else when I knew my program was inferior to what was being presented. It was the right thing to do…..

      It takes all types, huh?

  10. You don’t have to depend on trust, integrity, religion, etc., to keep tabs on the kind of thing in Bill’s OP where somebody was stealing from his church. Beyond having good business and accounting practices in place to dissuade temptation, there are real, identifiable, quantifiable signs when people leave integrity behind, often even before they realize it themselves. Look up Benford’s Law. If you use Wikipedia, you can skip the math part and skip down to the Applications section. Benford’s Law has been used to prove cases like the OP. Trust and integrity certainly have a role in business—especially in professions whose job it is to tell you things you don’t want to hear, like lawyers and doctors, and risk you firing them for it. But, do your due diligence. Shop around, at least periodically. Trust is earned, business isn’t forever monogamy, blind trust isn’t smart or good business, and wanting the best deal isn’t a sin.

    • Trust is earned and can be lost in a moment’s notice so choose your actions wisely.

      Due diligence is never a bad thing, when you rely on blind faith, sometimes you can be very, very disappointed.

      I will have to check out Benford’s Law; I’m not familiar with it. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hey Bill

    I experienced the ‘just keeping you honest’ thing when I used to work in the pensions industry. Every few years or so, the trustees of a pension scheme generally do go to tender just to make sure the company who operates their scheme is competitively priced in the marketplace. It still felt like your service was being questioned though.

    Over the last few years, clients were trying to squeeze every ounce of work out of you for as little money as possible. It wasn’t so much about reputation. The industry completely changed for me in that way. When I first started working in oocupational pensions, it was about providing great service to a client, gaining a good reputation and then gaining more clients from it.

    I felt by the time I ‘got out’ of there service and reputation weren’t so much of a priority any more. Low prices were the way to gain new clients.

    Changing the subject slightly, there’s been quite a big debate over here in the UK about benefits provided to people who aren’t in work. There used to be no cap on the amount they could receive but from 2013, this is going to be capped at £26,000 pa (roughly $40,850 pa I think).

    The idea behind it is to encourage people back to work. There have been stories in the press of people taking vast amounts of benefits from the state. Just because they could. One particular story was about a couple who had numerous children (I think 8), lived in a plush London suburb getting housing benefit, and neither of them worked. That is just plain stealing surely?

    I’m glad about the cap for that reason. Although I can see a negative side to it in the sense that it’s going to affect the poorer sections of society and create resentment when they see CEOs of companies taking huge bonuses, particularly following the banking crisis. Huge losses for banks, the tax payer bails them out and then the chairman gets a great big fat bonus. Hmmmm.

    Anyway, thanks for creating such a great debate!

    I seem to have ranted as well so apologies.


    • Unfortunately, on the surface and certainly for certain lines it was very easy to comodotize our industry. You don’t need an agent, just buy it direct.

      Fortunately in my world, you still need an agent and you will be better served to have a professional instead of someone just selling lowest price and has nothing else to bring to the table.

      I hear ya on paying people not to work. It should be inverse and the more you are willing to work the more benefits will be provided. If you are just milking the system and creating a generational sense of entitlement then that needs to be de-funded.

      Good to see you; sorry for the delay. The ol’ day job got in the way…..

  12. This is my hot-button issue. I hate being lied to, especially when it comes to money. It’s the ultimate disrespect. I’ve blogged about it on several occasions, to the point where I thought it seemed obsessive.

    I don’t mind people shopping around. I do it myself. Information rules. It puts extra onus on me or you to prove our value. Which I’m sure you’re good at doing.

    All of this may just go to prove that I didn’t read your post as carefully as I might, and didn’t read the comments at all. But that’s what you get for getting 8,089 comments for every post. Really, can you be less of a… catalyst? Just something to think about.

    • 8,090 now because I’m responding………..:).

      I would much rather be told straight up than lied to and trust me, I have seen some whoppers on why people aren’t doing business with you. I would say out of my entire book of business, 50% are not shoppers, they rely on my expertise to guide them through that process. The ideal customer in other words.

      I probably have 30% who shop but always give me every opportunity to retain. Not ideal, but better than a sharp poke in the eye.

      And then I have 15% who would sell me out for $50. However, we just happen to have the ‘magic’ bullet for their account and they don’t have many options. Tenuous at best, but as long as they aren’t too demanding and keep paying me, I’m not quite ready to write them off.

      If people didn’t ‘shop’ I wouldn’t have any opportunities. However, once we get a new account we try to educate them on what is really ‘costs’ to shop.

      Good to see you sir, I will work on being less of a catalyst.

  13. The shopping around is perhaps more prevalent in a down economy. But as Barrett says, it’s also about value. I am not willing to pay a few dollars less to get something that doesn’t meet quality standards. I’ll go so far as to add: that person I’m working with, the relationship, matters. I want someone I CAN trust.

    And don’t get me started with people who play ‘the religious card.’ Seeing this in the U.S. elections this time around. Problem is, the people are of the same faith I am, but conveniently ignore the parts of that faith that don’t mesh with their personal ambitions. Okay, that’s as far as I’ll step over the dreaded, divisive politics line. Great post, my friend.

    • I’ve had people stay w/ me even when there was over a $15,000 difference; that made me feel good. Trust and relationship was a big factor…..

      The funny thing is, when the economy dropped so did the premium these business owners were paying. Some started paying next to nothing and because they were just trying to keep their doors open, insurance wasn’t that big of an issue. Some of these ‘shoppers’ put it on hold for awhile.

      People who lean too heavily on the religion card is close to people who shout ‘trust me’ the loudest; you tend to take it w/ a grain of salt and wonder why they are trying so hard to convince you. Walk the walk and it will be much more believable.

      Politics and religion…………..yikes; the ultimate hot potato, huh?

      • Haha. Politics and religion. Just add sex and you have the trio: the three things Mama told me never to talk about in polite company. Wouldn’t you know it? Those are the topics of my memoir. But as someone said, “What Mama don’t know…”

  14. I sleep best when I’m dead tired. [grin] I’m not sure sleep and conscience are correlated as closely when it comes to me – as others may suggest of themselves. Fear, however, can interfere with my sleep or the restfulness of sleep. But fear – it doesn’t keep me honest.

    So what keeps me honest?

    Somewhere it is written upon my heart that things do in a way they shouldn’t and things must do in a way they should – if I am to be me. Truly, me. That’s a long way from here to there, I regret. It may, however, be the road less traveled by. And make all the difference.

    We shall see.

    • Sometimes it is the road less traveled.

      I certainly don’t want this to be perceived as some platform and I’m proclaiming to be better than anyone. I’m just making a statement it really pisses me off to seeing people taken advantage of, especially when they used the religion card to gain the trust.

      How the heck are you bro? I know you’ve had some struggles so I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel for you. We miss having you around all of the time.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Honesty, what is honesty?

    Is there anyone who is truly honest?

    I doubt so.

    Maybe a few.

    Dishonesty. We all are dishonest to some extent. Because we are humans, and we are wired with greed and dishonesty in us, our mind (greed causes us to do many dishonest things, right? We all have greed in some, in different levels to different things – greed towards happiness, greed towards money, greed towards power, status or gadgets).

    Of course, the things we do dishonestly depends.

    It might be really small like telling your mom a lie about where you were.

    Or really big like cheating the entire public in an election campaign.

    Big or small, it’s all dishonesty.

    Now to the punishment?

    How can we punish the dishonest people among our society when we ourselves are dishonest?

    How can we give an appropriate punishment when dishonesty is very much a subjective thing (some people might find certain lies to be okay, they were told for the moral “good” – then again, what is moral good? How do we define it?).

    I don’t think anyone can be truly honest, unless they are living alone, no interaction with others.

    How do we wanted to be treated from others?

    Depends I think.

    Because, we put expectations upon people.

    People who are perceived as grumpy and have done “bad” things (Again, subjective) is expected (by us) to treat us in a bad way.

    Tell me, would we ever expect our enemy (one we consider as an enemy) to treat as nicely?

    Now, would we ever expect a really nice friend to treat us in a bad way?

    All that comes down to our perceptions and expectations of people.

    As with how we wanted to be treated (by everyone in general), we want to be treated really special.

    But, are we able to do that to others too? Maybe to our dearly loved ones, but to everyone, I highly doubt.

    Would we able to treat a person (that we perceive to be bad) in a good manner?

    It is possible, but really difficult (I think only a few people have been able to do that. Examples like Gandhi or MLK, they followed the path of non violence and treated their “enemies” in a good way, of course, very much subjective).

    I will be honest about one thing – I am not truly honest, never been 😉

    • Jeevan, I am mostly honest. To the extent that I’m honest with myself, I’m honest with others. No one is perfect, but some of us haven’t got the memory to sustain a good lie, and have learned not to try. The only way I can lie convincingly is to first delude myself.

      But to reply to your comment – oh, this is another deep and interesting one, Jeevan! – I think we MUST have certain expectations of one another, commonly agreed upon expectations, and there MUST be consequences for not living up to them. The Golden Rule is a good one: Treat others as you would want to be treated. NOT as they treat you – but as you’d WANT them to treat you. This is an important point, because it’s like forgiveness – it’s something you do for yourself, as much as for the other guy.

      That doesn’t mean you have to be the world’s doormat. But it means you should try to live in accordance with your highest values and allow others to do the same – to expect them to do the same. I think most people are basically good; I also think they’re apt to live up to your best and down to your worst expectations. As a society, WE have a right to establish certain baselines, but we should strive to exceed them. And we should enforce them so that everyone is at least playing by the same rules.

      • By setting the bar high enough with a certain level of expectations and treating others like you would want to be treated makes it easier to determine what is ‘good’ and what is not. Using religion and coming off holier than thou and then stealing someone’s money should always be ‘bad’ behavior.

        Jeevan did go deep with his response, didn’t he? He certainly made some valid points.

        Living by the ‘golden rule’ would certainly solve a lot of the world’s ill’s don’t you think; and it’s so simple to do………

        Thanks for jumping in and being active on this post, much appreciated.

      • I know you are 😉

        I find myself easy to tell a lie (well, I think that’s because I am a teenager – but, I am good these days, I don’t go into much trouble – well, I don’t get into any kind of trouble :D).

        Yes, but how many of us can do that? (That’s why we have revenge and all sorts of stuff associated with it, right?).

        If everyone was willing to forget that their enemy was their enemy (well, whom they perceive as an enemy) and treat them as a good friend, that would have been true.

        But, do people actually do that?

        More or less.

        I think there is a lot more revenge going on these days – Political revenge, economical/business revenge, personal revenge – all sorts of revenges.

        Of course, I truly agree with your opinion, Holly. But, is the world that pure? Nope. Even if we strive as a society, it is hard (but, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try).

        We have to forgive each other (man, I think there should be a law regarding that, but sometimes, it is hard to forgive right?).

        Yes, it is silly not to forgive when a relationship breaks off due to a argument.

        But, is it easy to forgive and set the same expectations to that specific person (with whom we had a good relationship), if he/she does something really bad to us – say try to hurt us or our loved ones?

        Tell me, would a mother forgive her son’s killer? (Yes, but it is hard to do that, right?). Really hard.

        Some people might be able to do that. Some won’t. Some seek justice. And when they don’t get it, some try to take revenge.

    • Whoa, deep, very deep, but oh so true. Yes, we are all dishonest to a certain degree. Like Holly said however, we try to be mostly honest but then you have degrees of honesty and what is acceptable not only to you but to the outside world.

      And if you don’t get caught in a lie, then is it still being dishonest?

      My post had two purposes; one being why would you want to do business with someone if you thought they were dishonest; and two, people taking advantage of others because they were ‘trusted’ and therefore, let in the house.

      Maybe somewhat hypocritical for a dishonest person, regardless of the degree, trying to pass judgment on another dishonest person, huh?

      You make good talking points, thanks for sharing your views.

      • We may not be perceived as dishonest, but we are dishonest to us, right? To our superego?

        Now, that’s a problem, right? Is a person dishonest because we thought he/she is dishonest? No, right?

        It is just part of our perceptions and expectations, right?

        We should try to find the truth out, in most cases. Other cases, it is better not to do the business (not take the risk; or maybe we should take the risk, because life itself is a risky game, right?).

        Sometimes, people take advantage of ours for purpose, sometimes they do it unknowingly. Tell me Bill, is both the same?

        Is the second one more forgivable than the first one?

        Maybe to others. But to the person who was cheated or affected by it, it’s all the same, right? (Does it matter to him/her?)

        What if a person is dishonest and doesn’t realize it? (Can that happen, the question just came to my mind).

      • Jeevan,

        Are you taking a philosophy course? These conversations have definitely taken a profound turn – and I’m enjoying it!

        I don’t think that we can be DISHONEST and not know it. We can be incorrect – which simply means we don’t have the information required to be fully honest. Or we think we have the information, but are relying on incorrect information or lies (that we believed to be true). That’s not dishonesty.

        We can be willfully (and woefully) ignorant – that’s a form of dishonesty, perhaps. It’s at least maintaining “plausible deniability” in order to claim innocence later.

        Or we can lie outright – and either it hurts no one or it hurts someone. If it hurts no one (and this is difficult to judge, as “hurt” can be subjective and a matter of the other person’s perspective), then the lie is possibly better than the truth. No woman needs to hear, “Why yes, that dress actually makes you look like a fat cow” the minute she steps into a party. But if there was a better choice, at home, and time to change clothes when she asked the question, honesty would have been a better choice, don’t you think?

        Some “hurt” is objective – sales, for example – if you sell me something and I don’t think I’m really getting good value for the money, but I don’t perceive a different choice and I need what you’re selling, then dishonesty is tantamount to stealing. On the other hand, it’s not dishonest to make a profit (we all know people are in business to make a profit), so if I have other choices and I agree that what you’re selling has as much or more value, to me, as the money you’re asking, then it’s a fair transaction. You don’t have to lie and tell me the cost of the car you’re selling me – and I won’t trust you if I find out later that you’ve lied. You just have to convince me that the car is WORTH the asking price – or settle for what I’m willing to offer.

        It seems as though you’re implying that people are ALWAYS dishonest, Jeevan, and I don’t think that’s true. I think we have to assume, in business, that they COULD be lying – but at some point, we have to trust people, or choose who we distrust least.

        Back to the original post, though (goodness, we’ve gone far afield) – Bill, my parents once loaned another small business owner money. I remember them saying, at the time, “well, her sister is a nun!” and later, after the debtor declared bankruptcy and it turned out she had a sizable number of creditors lined up at her padlocked door, “but her sister is a NUN!” Uh huh. And Jimmy Swaggart was a preacher and a conservative political commentator when he got caught – twice – with prostitutes. People make mistakes, but when people profess their good character and cite religious belief as some sort of proof that they cannot go astray – and when others believe it and rely on it and are then swindled by those very people – that’s the worst sort of hypocrisy, isn’t it? That’s not just a lie, it’s a whole big ball of lies designed to hurt others, and it does – it hurts the ones it is intended to hurt, and it hurts those who are truly faithful and try hard to live their lives according to their spiritual beliefs, because not only do people judge the liar, they judge the group the liar associates with.

      • I think intent should weigh heavily on the seriousness of the offense. But then who can truly determine intent, right?

        Others follow the exact letter of the law even when they know it will still hurt others; that is their justification, which still doesn’t make it right.

      • Holly, it does make it worse when they mask it in supposed trust like religion. Subsequently, even though there are many, many good things done in the name of religion; it’s the distrust and hypocritical behavior that makes people question their beliefs.

      • Sad but true. I’ve found myself distancing from religion, though I don’t identify as “atheist,” either. I just have no use, anymore, for what passes as religion these days, and it’s people’s (hypocrites’, specifically) fault – not God’s.

        After Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike, the religious groups in Houston did a wonderful job of helping people. So yes, they do a lot of good. And the ones that do it without running ads about doing it – I have a lot of respect for them. (I lost a lot of respect for a few people and organizations around that time, but gained a lot for others.)

        Bill, I definitely agree with you – INTENT matters. We all make mistakes; the person who deceives others with the intent to deceive others is far worse than the one who lies out of some natural instinct for self-preservation (even if he hurts others in the process). We all have that instinct, and those kinds of lies tend to snowball and end up hurting the liar worse than anyone, usually.

  16. Hey Bill,

    Very interesting. To me, it’s all about being honest and especially when it comes to insurance. I have talked to a lot of people in insurance during the years, and usually, what makes me switch to another company, is honesty and trust. If I feel that the person I am talking to really wants what’s best for me and my family, I’ll do (whatever) she’s telling me. That’s it.

    On another level. I’ve experience two totally different types of honest/dishonest people lately. I’ve bought a couple of new products online and both meant trouble to me. The first one couldn’t be installed on my computer and I couldn’t download the last one. But, the people behdind the products were totally different.

    The first one didn’t help at all, and he was more interested in the money and that it would be hard for me to get a refund (that’s how I see it). But the second one (a woman) did everything right and said she was sorry and would do everything to help me out. That’s how you get customers for life…

    • So, I see a theme here…..first was the crappy insurance guy and then you reference the trusting female one; and then on the product refund, crappy guy, good female…. hmmmm, maybe there is something to that……..:).

      I can deflect some of the trust issues by mainly just doing the right thing, but also reminding them I am just the middle man; I do not control pricing and to a certain degree the product offered.

      I will advise you what I think you should have and why….and what it costs, and then you can tell me what you think you need. More times than not, people will go for the cheap on the front end because they are willing to roll the dice and think they won’t need the insurance. That’s when the customer ‘forgets’ the other coverages were offered and complain they have a bad agent……..

      If I look out for my customer’s best interests, I will get paid. If anything, I take money out of my pocket because I am always negotiating for the best price possible for my customers. It’s all about treating others like you would want to be treated….

      Good to see you; hope you have a nice weekend planned. My youngest son is in town and he’s going to be interviewing w/ my company for a job. I might have mentioned that before, but it’s official now. I’m excited……

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