The Ten Ways I Lie
by James Altucher: The
Trillion Dollar Lies
I lied to my
kids this weekend. I told them I had a fun time with them when really
I didnt. They were brats. I lied to my parents all the time
when I was a kid. I lied to clients, colleagues, bosses, employees.
write about me and I wish I could kill them. Sometimes I want someone
to return my call and when they finally return my call ten days
later I say, oh, it was no problem. I understand. Someone
wrote me the other day and said, James, you are a crook.
I lied to myself that it didnt bother me. I used to lie to
people all the time when I was separated from my wife. People said,
all ok? and I was like, Couldnt be better.
When I had to sell my first house because I was going to lose it
I lied to everyone and said I was moving someplace better. I was
I lied for
years telling people I hadnt lost all my money when I did.
I was ashamed I would lose opportunities if everyone didnt
think I was super successful.
I lied to a
judge when I said I skidded uncontrollably on water on the ground
when I went straight through a stop sign without stopping, hitting
a station wagon in the process and breaking the legs of the 70 year
old man driving it. It was a clear day.
I lied to myself
this morning when I said I wasnt angry at someone who had
written a crappy article about me this weekend.
to stop lying. Im not a believer at all in so-called radical
honesty where, at an extreme, you might tell some random girl
you want to have sex with her even if it involves hurting everyone
around you. At some point you need a filter between the brain and
the mouth. You wont find happiness inside the vomit machine
your mouth turns into.
can slow the lies. Every day you can cut a lie out. You can
be a little more open. A little more free. Let me tell you something:
when you start to limit the lies you develop super-powers and everyone
around you sees it. They either run from you in fear because now
you can see right through them, or they gather around you and throw
opportunities at you because your superpowers will now help them.
latter you want to aspire to. Be a superhero.
Here are the
types of lies we often succumb to and think its harmless:
saying my house is 5000 square feet on an ad to sell
your house when it might actually be 4800 square feet. Believe me,
they are going to measure anyway.
lie: Saying Santa Claus exists or that dress
is pretty or this book is good because you dont
want to hurt someone. This doesnt mean to say you look
ugly but better to say you should wear the red dress
thats a little tighter around the waist. Offer up a
real, thoughtful opinion, not just a blurted out retch straight
from your brain.
Madoff did this to an extreme. But I see this on a daily level.
More than 50% of hedge funds are frauds in my opinion. Most economic
analysis is fraudulent. Every day politicians engage in shades of
fraud but they are so used to it they think its normal behavior.
Its what politicians do. Pick any elected official and I can
probably give you ten ways they engage in fraudulent behavior. One
time I went with a friend of mine to visit a financial advisor.
She just wanted my second opinion . I didnt say anything the
entire meeting but took notes. I found at least ten cases where
he directly lied to her.
Why do people
engage in fraud? It starts with
first you lie about how much you make because you are ashamed to
tell the truth. Or you lie about past relationships because if you
say you cheated and hung out with hookers every day you are afraid
people wont like you. You lack self-esteem and only the bricks
carefully carved out of shame will protect you in your fortress
that gets smaller and smaller.
A lie to
ourselves: you might say, Im going to learn Spanish this
year even though it was totally unrealistic. You might say, Im
not an angry person even though you have grudges against everyone
around you. Heres a hint: if most of the people around you
are angry at you, then chances are you are an angry person. Projection
is an easy way we can lie to ourselves. We give the people around
us the attributes we have. We lie to ourselves by blaming them when
its our fault we have these attributes.
make a list of all the people around you and what you think of them.
Then erase their names. Chances are whats left are the attributes
that perfectly describe you.
I got a divorce I had it great. To everyone who I hadnt responded
to in months I said, oh, I was going through too much in my
divorce. I couldnt get back to you. The reality was
I didnt really want to talk to those people. Or maybe I was
just irresponsible. But I was afraid of what they would think of
me if I just told them the truth.
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© 2012 The
Best of James Altucher