I like to have fun. I like games. I like to laugh, and I like to win. Yes. The GSN (Game Show Network) is one of my favorite TV stations. I like to see the enthusiasm of the contestants; the excitement of anticipation they experience thinking about the possibilities. I like seeing how thrilled they are just being chosen to participate. I like people, and I like seeing them win.
One wacky game show was the long-running Truth or Consequences. It first aired on NBC radio as early as 1940 and was an instant hit. It later aired on both CBS and NBC television networks and was also syndicated. The show had various hosts throughout its duration starting with its creator, Ralph Edwards in 1950, but I remember watching Bob Barker who hosted the show from 1956 – 1975, prior to his hosting The Price is Right – another game show I have enjoyed.
The premise of Truth or Consequences was to give contestants a little quiz, usually an off the wall question with only a couple of seconds to answer. If the contestant did not get the answer right there would be consequences, usually a crazy and embarrassing stunt requiring their participation. The interesting phenomenon about Truth or Consequences was that right from the start they found that most people preferred to get the question wrong, even if they knew the answer, in order to perform the stunt. They preferred the consequences rather than telling the truth!
Why people lie.
There’s lots of research on the reasons people lie to each other. It varies from trying to protect oneself by seeking to avoid being punished for a mistake or bad behavior, to trying to impress others by promoting a more favorable image, to being socially correct, to telling people what we believe they want to hear. We understand the reasoning, but it certainly doesn’t make telling a lie the right thing to do.
Yet, it may be true that the hardest person in the world to be honest with is yourself. If you stop and think about it, it’s a constant battle to tell yourself the truth because it is so easy to lie that you might not even notice what you are doing.
Take for example a goal you’ve set. You may start off motivated but when it starts getting difficult you start rationalizing why you can’t do it. The goal is unachievable, not worth the effort, you don’t have the time or money. The goal is too lofty or insignificant. Lying to yourself can get you “off the hook” and you convince yourself it is true, so you feel much better about your situation and yourself. But what if you tell yourself the truth? What incredible accomplishments might you achieve? Look at Thomas Edison. After 1,000 failures to find the right filament for the light bulb, he was able to continue to tell himself the truth and look at what he achieved.
Lies keep people from becoming the person they can be and accomplishing the unimaginable, the inconceivable, and from experiencing the thrill of reaching their potential.
What is it that you may be playing over and over in your mind that isn’t based on truth? What would happen if you chose today to tell yourself the truth and put action to your decision? What might you accomplish? What stunt could you successfully pull off? Why wait? Start telling yourself the truth right now!
Part 2 – The truth will set you free. Is that a true statement? Coming soon!
Bobbie Rill, M.A., LPC
Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist/Natl. Trainer
The Grief & Wellness Group, Inc.