Being honest sometimes isn’t enough, there’s always a bigger picture (247)

One of my favourite quotes about developing healthy human relation insights comes from Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of highly effective people ~ ‘Seek first to understand then to be understood’

The idea of transparency and honesty is only half the equation when it comes to building strong relationships.

Wether it’s family matters, building communities or the top end of town business deals, understanding the other person is not the first thing we think of.

What we may think is understanding is often assumptions. We are quick to judge which stems from immaturity or an underdeveloped character, or at worst deliberate selfishness.

To truly understand another human being, we have to take time out for a moment and remove ourselves from our own expectations, world view and ingrained prejudices. So as you can see, being honest is only half of the equation.

I know what it is like to have my opinion exercised through sheer manipulation. This is nothing more than a jungle mentality. Only the strong survive. Unfortunately this type of mentality gets us to a point of exhaustion and isolation. Isolation leads to mental health issues where all sorts of phobias are planted in our minds like unwanted weeds. We believe our honesty is enough and unfortunately our honesty at this point is just a one sided skewed view of the world.


The bigger picture invites us to grow in our thinking and being honest about what we see in this fascinating world of integrity and empathy.

I remember trying to teach about a dozen high-rise construction site managers at their weekly leadership meeting this vital lesson in seeing the bigger picture. Anyone who has worked in a high energy environment of high-rise construction knows, managers verbally fight like cat and dog all the time. The construction boss watched on as I drew an imaginary number in the middle of the circle where all the managers sat.

What do you see?

I went around the room and asked, “Which number did I draw?”

The room was divided in their answer, about 50% said I drew the number 6 and the rest insisted that I drew the number 9. Backwards and forwards they started to defend each other’s positions, insisting it was a 6 or a 9.

I was the only one who knew what number was in the middle of the room. I could’ve allowed chaos to continue and agree with both parties and therefore manipulate everyone in the room one by one or I could be honest and tell them what number I drew.

I stood up and walked over to the other side of the room and asked if they would walk back with me to my side of the room. I revealed that I drew a 6 even though they kept saying from their perspective it was a 9. It wasn’t enough just to correct them, it was important that I won their confidence by reaching out to them and asking them to cross over to my side.

I understand that they saw a 9 and from where they sat, they were honestly wrong. There honesty wasn’t enough. People end up fighting on the wrong battle field just because they are honest but not willing to be shown a different way.

The construction boss loved the demonstration and grabbed the principle like a gold nugget.

Wether it’s raising a family, building long term friendships or developing your career, you can only get so far by being honest about what you see without first seeing the bigger picture.

Take time out to put your opinion on hold. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially for go getters like me. But it is worth it in the long haul, your ability to make decisions based on the bigger picture will give you far greater impact, influence and integrity with others.

On the flip side, you will always have negative people that will never see your point of view no matter how much you reach out to them or try and understand them. This should stop you from being the bigger person and loving them anyway. Maybe in time they will want more than a superficial connection, but if not, you won’t allow them to poison you.

I have two guiding laws that govern me, which helps me always to try and see the bigger picture.

I love God with all my heart and I love humanity like I love myself. Sometimes I tell people I still love them, but I don’t necessarily like them at that moment because of the way they are behaving. I also accept that I behave unpleasantly from time to time and I check myself why? Am I tired, feel taken advantage of etc… regardless, it’s my responsibility to adjust and make things right, often by apologising first to maintain the relationship.

I call this honesty as seeing the bigger picture.

Never dismiss others indefinitely, be open to make things right at some point even if the opportunity didn’t present itself, just stay open.

One Comment on “Being honest sometimes isn’t enough, there’s always a bigger picture (247)

%d bloggers like this: