Truth … or Consequences?

Just like in the popular game show of yesteryear, the phrase “truth or consequences” suggests an option of a ‘known’ versus an ‘unknown’ decision … and that whichever you choose, you must live with the outcome.

In my experience, Life is very much just like that. We get to make choices all day long, week by week and year by year. Some might even say that the quality of our Life can be measured by the sum of the choices we make. If this is true, it puts quite a lot of responsibility on the process of decision-making, doesn’t it?

First, the Truth …

But what does it actually mean to live one’s Truth? Is it referring to whether or not we ever lie? And if so, is there really always a consequence to every little fib we might tell – even if the fib is offered to spare someone’s feelings, or to smooth over an awkward moment? Or does living one’s Truth point a little bit deeper … say, into one’s conscience, character or morals? Perhaps it can be both – and all the spaces in between.

In coaching, we often use the phrase “living authentically” … I even referred to this in a previous article. But what does that really mean? My belief is that living authentically connects us to our Truth … and this includes being clear on what we want from Life, and what we’re willing to contribute to it; how we treat people, and how we expect to be treated in return; living in alignment with what our values are, and not abdicating those values for the sake of popularity or convenience.

Then, the Consequences …

It’s often tempting to allow others to influence us, particularly if we have a vested interest in impressing or pleasing them. This is where Consequences come into play, and often regrettably so. Sadly, decisions made this way can often lead to regrets, which in turn can lead to depression and blaming … and a host of other negative possibilities. For example, imagine that you allowed yourself to be persuaded into a decision that has a negative outcome – a decision that, without outside influence, you might have taken differently. Isn’t there a temptation to blame the other person for ‘making’ you choose wrong?

Not only does this lead to conflict between you and the person you allowed to persuade you, it also tends to convince you that you’ve become some kind of victim and thereby are not accountable for the decision – which, of course, is a patent un-Truth. Personal choices are ours and ours alone – we are the only ones responsible for accepting or rejecting any kind of influence, and living in Truth requires us to own that.

And finally, the Lesson …

I’ve talked about the futility of regrets in other articles, so I won’t go into that again – except to restate that mistakes are the greatest teachers we’ll ever have in Life. Making a mistake or a misjudgement can have a serious outcome, it’s true … but finding the lesson allows us to at least recover some value from that misstep. And lessons can be a great contributor to helping us find our Truth, for they often lead us back into alignment with that which is deeply in our heart.

As you evaluate your own Truth, and consider how much of it influences your Life, why not ask yourself one simple question: if you are not now living the Life you want to live, at what point do you plan to begin doing so?

and while you consider this, remember to focus on the good things in Life!


Truth … or Consequences? — 10 Comments

  1. Interesting concept about life being the sum of the decisions we make. Put another way, life is the response to the decisions we make. One of the biggest lessons I had to learn in being an entreprenuer that I was going to go down roads where there were roadblocks or deadends. Sometimes, these were costly mistakes in time and money. Ahh, but always learning. At first, I would get very frustrated and want to know why I couldn’t find the one true right course of action for success. Of course, cursing and wailing changed little. I know accept the journey and while I still get frustrated at times, I realize that is also part of the process.

    Throughout this journey and every other one I’ve embarked, I’ve learned more about myself, who I am and what it means to walk in these shoes. From all of these, I try to live authentically.

    • Hi, Cathy …

      Roadblocks and dead ends abound on the road of the entrepreneur – this is so very true. But the more able we are to eliminate the wrong way, much like Thomas Edison in pursuit of his lightbulb filament, we eventually will discover the right way … and this will reveal the success formula as we persevere. The lessons are the course-corrections that lead us onto the path of this formula, so their value cannot be underestimated …

      I do believe my best insights come through lessons wrought from failed efforts – and, like you, I still get frustrated. But I also agree that such journeys provide the essentials for authenticity, so I try to find patience in the process. Some days are better than others, however …

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this …


  2. Hi Lily-Ann

    Interesting thoughts, thanks.

    I confess that I will tell a white lie to spare others’ feelings if I feel there’s no good to come of hitting them with the truth. For instance – if a friend asks my opinion of a dreadful dress BEFORE she goes out, my answer would probably be different from if she asks me AFTER she has already arrived at the venue wearing it.

    Another thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is when silence is the lie – i.e. NOT being straight about something and wondering if you will get found out. I am learning that it’s best to come clean and often the consequences aren’t as bad as you imagine they were going to be:-)

    For the avoidance of doubt this was merely a business decision that some people may disagree with, not some dreadful crime I have committed LOL.


    • Hi, Joy …

      I believe I know just what you mean, differentiating between the before and/or after part … and it made me chuckle right out loud to be reminded – well said! There’s a very big difference between seeking approval (before) and seeking a compliment (after), and the more aware of this we are, the less social awkwardness we’re likely to create in our life. And lying-by-omission can be just a awkward as blurting out a total fib … even if we have the best of intentions by doing so.

      It’s true that social interaction can be quite complicated, knowing when to be forthright and when to be more diplomatic … for me, that’s part of what makes life so fascinating – that whole human dynamic. I don’t always get it right, but then again, I’m still a work in progress. :-)

      I appreciate you taking the time to visit and leave a comment … and thanks for the chuckle!


    • Hi, Bonnie …

      Well … I respect an awful lot of what Louise Hay teaches. To a degree, I believe the concept. Having said that, however, my sense is that we also have the capacity to delude ourselves when it comes to our self-image … we can convince ourselves that we are unworthy or undeserving, or conversely, that we are more worthy or more deserving. But does that make us so? If someone is called a ‘loser’ so many times that they start to believe it, do they automatically become one? Or if someone of average intelligence is constantly told how smart they are, and they begin to believe it, does that make them significantly smarter?

      Of course, it’s never this cut and dried, is it? I believe we have the capacity to reprogram our thinking – which can then lead to substantial improvements in our Life. When it comes to believing in one’s ability to achieve their goals, or their worth or value, I DO think that our mindset will either allow us to succeed or cause us to fail. I associate that with determination, conviction, and effort … either we invest in it or we don’t. If we don’t believe we can succeed, chances are we won’t. And thoughts drive beliefs … so that’s another reason why I try to stay focused on the positive.

      Thanks for stopping by and asking that question … I had to give it some thought before answering.


  3. Hi Coach Lily-Ann, I enjoy when Coach Collegues cause me to think more deeply – thank you! I find it exciting and enjoyable to mold my life congruently into both that which I want to be and that which I Am :-) Thanks again for your wisdom!

    ~Coach Mark Edward Brown

    • Hi, Mark …

      I always enjoy your visits to my site, and I am especially pleased that my articles give you pause for thought. We have a strong and wonderful online coaching community from which I draw a lot of support and encouragement – and this helps me to stay congruent with my values and beliefs. As a part of that community, your contribution is very much appreciated.


  4. If not now, when? :)

    Understanding and loving yourself can give you immense power and confidence, yet often times, people avoid looking inside, scared of what they might find. Then they convince themselves that they should be doing something else; being busy is a great excuse and even greater distraction.

    If we don’t understand ourselves, who will?

    • Hi, Milan …

      Indeed – that is the very question, isn’t it … If not now – when? I mean, for many of us, this question might have been of benefit years ago, but at least asking it now gets it onto the table. And for sure, introspection can be a very frightening exercise.

      Years ago, in a Transactional Analysis class at university, we read a John Powell book – “Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am?” … with the subtitle “Because if I tell you who I am, and you don’t like who I am, it’s all that I have …” It seems so long ago, now, but at the time, it was a best-selling book that really shook the landscape of introspection. And I’m not sure it has quite finished its echo, actually, because doesn’t that really linger close to the surface of most people even today?

      There aren’t a lot of natural sources of self-esteem and confidence in our world today. It seems that we need to create our own nurturing environment of acceptance and self-awareness (and maybe always did). Once we’ve established the safety of such a space, I’d wager that would be a giant step towards truly understanding ourselves.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving these comments …


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