Honesty is the crux of integrity. If a business is based on integrity and honesty, it is more likely to be successful. Clientele will tend to come back for more business when they find out that you say what you mean and mean what you say. Repeat business is the key to a successful company.

Honesty is the act of communicating and acting truthfully. It is the understanding that the value of truth is absolute and not relative, as some would suppose. If truth was whatever one thought it to be, then there would be no standard for honesty in any area of our lives.

If truth was not absolute, then simply stating one's views as one truly believes them to be would be considered honesty. And, there would be as many truths as there are people's views.

If truth was not absolute, then there would be no recognized standard for determining right and fairness. The reason that we have a court system is to,as much as possible, determine fairness when two persons have differing views of what is right.

Honesty applies to all areas of behavior in one's life. It begins with being honest with ourselves. The first step is to recognize that all men are biased.

Our prejudices and biases are based on hundreds of events in our upbringing,social relations, and our inner fears and desires. For this reason, in our judicial system no one can sit on a jury if he iskin to any of the other people involved in that court proceeding. Nor can he hold a pre-prejudiced view of the case. This fact shows our founding fathers recognized that all men are biased to some degree and took steps to not allow our biases to affect the decisions of the court.

Also, all human beings are selfish to some degree, though we work toward becoming unselfish people on a daily basis.But, inherently self preservation causes all of us to look out for number one.

I have to take a selfless position, and lay aside all my wants and desires in order to lay a claim to honesty. I can start out gathering information with good intentions.But, very quickly I begin to mix the information that I am taking in with the ideas and desires that I have formulated over time, and then the new information is tainted with my own biases. Clearly then, an unbiased, unselfish approach tothe truth is a requirement of honesty. And,so, good intentions are nice to have, but not the bases for truth.

Additionally, if we refuse to consider factual information with an open mind and in an unbiased manner, how can we honestly say that we are in search of truth? We need to first make an asserted effort to be honest with ourselves.

Realize that you don't have all the facts. And, if you don't have all of the facts,then it is likely that you don't have all truth. There is no way you can hope to behonest with others until you work on being honest with yourself. Recognizing that fact is important.

My own honesty or dishonesty with myself is difficult to recognize. My ability to determine my own honesty can be elusive and very deceptive. Have you ever met anyone that would tell you straight out, "I am not honest with myself!"That would be very rare, though it would be true for most. But, very few would admit that we could be deceived. And so, if it is that difficult to be honest with yourself, how can you be totally honest with others?

When discussing the ability to detect dishonesty in ourselves, if we could really understand our own dishonesty, we would simply change. Additionally, one's own dishonesty tends to cloud our ability to see and understand it. Honestyrequires an unbiased and unselfish approach to the truth, and collides with ideologies of all types. Ideologies and idealism inherently exaggerate and suppress evidence in order to support prejudices and biased perspectives.

It's often at the moment you refuse to consider other perspectives that there is a clear indication you are not really interested in the truth and therefore dishonest. This condition erodes the practice and understanding of honesty and creates ongoing conflicts in all human relationships.

Work toward being honest and ethical with all men. Our businesses will pay big dividends when we are fair and honest with the people that we deal with. Therefore, honesty is and includes being unselfish, because selfishness and pride would keep one from recognizing truth. And if one could not determine truth, then how could one be totally honest?

Being candidly honest is a good start with having good relationships, and in turn having successful businesses. Honesty builds trust that will pay big dividends.

Ron Willis owns Masonry Estimating and Consulting Services (www.meacs.com). He can be reached at 817-822-8595 or ron@meacs.com.