Being Open, Honest and Sincere

I think this is one of the core preference of my being and thinking, that we all needs to be open, honest and sincere, in all we do and say.

Take any of these three away, and we have a closed, dishonest and insincere communication and relationship, which is prone to misunderstandings, miscommunications and breakdowns in relationships.

True, in some situations, often we have to be wise in what and who we’re sharing things with, but, after experimenting and thinking, I have come to the conclusion that being open, honest and sincere is applicable in all situations.

I am not saying that we become inappropriate, because inappropriate brings into context two matters: (1) timing and (2) context.

  • An example of timing appropriateness is if we know our boss is upset about a matter, perhaps that is not the time to sing your own praises to ask for a raise.
  • An example of context appropriateness is if we’re at a funeral and everyone is crying and we think of taking a loan from someone. This is similar to (1), but it talks about situation-specific timing.

However, being open, honest and sincere, is gold in any context, when applied with respect.

Being open, honest and sincere in all we do and say encourages a good cycle of honesty and real communication, where we build upon goodness upon goodness. It is also very pragmatic, because inasmuch people have been sharing with me to withhold information/lie for convenience, it’s just not good for me because I have too much to do and remember, so I end up not remembering what I have said or not said, and this makes things very confusing not only for me but for others.

That is why I prefer the open, honest and sincere approach. When people speak to me, they can expect openness and they don’t need to come with a guarded perspective that they “need to defend” themselves or their ideas – if their ideas or solutions are great, I will gladly accept and implement. Or if mine is better, then use my approach.

I do this because I believe that “two or more heads are better than one” – we come together and work together, and not “I’m-smarter-than-you”, and the open honesty supports and compliments that. More ideas and solutions means more ideas and solutions to use to better ourselves. And less energy and time wastage to “remember lies and deceit” – I’ve too much on my hands to participate in such event.

Disliking Surprises

I have confirmed that I don’t really enjoy surprises, and I also don’t really enjoy trying to give surprises to people.

  • Perhaps it’s because of my inherent fear that if I try to surprise someone, it’d backfire if the person actually got an unpleasant shock, or says “try harder” (which explains my disdain for people who like to “work others hard to feel significant”).
  • Perhaps it’s my dislike of having to say or show that I was pleasantly surprised though I wasn’t, and I had to show it so that the people who try to surprise me so that they feel good about themselves.
  • Perhaps it’s because of my life, business and investment experiences – I prefer things to be stable, status quo and the same, so that I can never be surprised. Surprises have often been painful and uncomfortable, that I need to quickly take specific life, business and investment decisions to turn things around (an example is how life threw me a surprise in my father’s passing after 17 days of hospitalization, comatosed, AFTER my 5-year-delayed honeymoon)

I prefer not to give or receive surprises where I can help it. It’s stressful, and I prefer to have my own time and space. I prefer to be me.

How To Reconcile

One of the ways I often teach my family (and in future, my kids) is how to reconcile with another.

It’s very interesting, easy but LAZY way to just say to them to say to each other “Sorry” and then think that it’s done-deal, and all’s nice and rainbows.

Sorry, that ain’t good enough. It’s too superficial, and worse:

That’s only half the story.

The other half is to seek to reconcile, which is done by actively communicating to each other with affirmations and actions of love, rather than walk away. Of course if it’s with someone you’d rather never meet again, then of course, just walk away.

But if my wife and myself just had a disagreement, we would make up in tender words, touch and affirmations, to reconcile our hearts back together and strengthening the relationship.

This is why when we teach our children who has hurted each other, be it intentionally or unintentionally, we teach them to both say sorry and hug, to cement the relationship. With friends, it can be a handshake or a gift.

Without strings attached, or having the other “work for the forgiveness or acceptance” – this is something I will not tolerate.

How to resolve conflicts

I grew up in conflicts, be it in the home or during our early days in entrepreneurship, which I think, looking back, allows me to see things in a more objective “large view” perspective, which is good for conflict resolution or goal setting in a broad sense.

Conflicts are usually tricky to handle, not because of the situations themselves, but because of the people involved in the situation. Emotions, psychology, baggage, expectations and assumptions that are componded by miscommunication tends to blow things up, which is why I emphasis strongly on open, direct and honest communication, which is required not just for conflict resolution, but is the foundation of a happy and successful living.

Conflicts can and should be only resolved when two or more parties involved can come to the discussion table to openly discuss and jointly seek resolutions. How it can work is both parties, let’s assume 2 parties involvement, Party A and Party B do the following:

  1. list down what they had experienced that they didn’t like
  2. clarification between parties on exactly what caused the experience
  3. party A to provide alternative solution to (1) above to resolve conflict
  4. party B to exact out item (3) above
  5. reconcile

Assuming Party A felt letdown by Party B on certain items, assuming both parties wish to resolve the conflict, it then becomes the responsibility of Party A to disclose/list down what they experienced, and then both Parties clarify what could/should have been done better and if Party A’s experience is truly justified or if it was an expectation that wasn’t communicated.

Then upon clarifying, Party A then needs to provide an alternative solution that they prefer, and if Party B can provide within their resources (emotional, mental, physical etc), then Party B can provide; however, if Party B cannot or will not, then Party B will then offer an alternative for Party A to consider – if Party A is willing to accept Party B’s alternative, then both Parties will agree to it and Party B will deliver what is promised on a set given time and date.

Then followed by reconciliation, or not, in the case where reconciliation is not preferred or unrequired (note: never a requirement, but a good thing to do).

This is the simplest, watered down way to resolve any conflicts. Of course, when emotions run high/wild, it doesn’t become as simple as this, however, more importantly is to focus on the objective points/data rather than giving in and succumbing to one’s emotions that will likely destroy the conflict resolution process.

Of course, whereby any or both Parties refuses to resolves the conflict, the conflict will be left hanging indefinitely, and depending on the goals and agenda and focus of the individual Parties, they have the decide if allocating precious resources is required.

Lastly, if either Parties refuse to resolve conflicts, it may be best to walk away and to discuss again at another point in time. I do not recommend burning bridges, but if both Parties cannot see eye to eye or decide to settle, then both Parties can/may consider agreeing to walk away for a set period of time. The reason to do this is because resources are precious and shouldn’t be wasted on items/articles/issues that is stalemate, and better spent on items that can better the world/another, rather than wasting on negative issues/complains.

If you’re stuck in a situation, please understand that everyone has opinions, and they’re entitled to them. So are you. Not all opinions should be given the same weightage (e.g. you shouldn’t spend 24 hours thinking about lunch and you shouldn’t spend 1 minute thinking of how you’d make the world a better place) – allocate your precious resources accordingly.