Why Should YOU Be Transparent?

Mitt Romney’s recent statements at a private fundraiser, caught on video, show that what he says publicly is different from what he says privately. And then there’s the refusal to release more than 2 years of his tax returns. This is referred to as a lack of transparency (perhaps because people don’t want to use the word “lying”?).That got me to thinking — why wouldn’t you be transparent? Whether you’re a candidate for President, or any human being going through life, you have a choice of whether or not to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — or not. As my Dad used to say, “Tell the truth — there’s less to remember.” So really, why wouldn’t you be transparent?I can only come up with 2 reasons:

  1. You are deeply ashamed of the truth, or guilty about the truth, or
  2. Telling the truth won’t get you what you want. 

Let’s take each of those in turn:

If you’re feeling ashamed or guilty, you have a few options. First, look at what you’re ashamed of, or guilty about, and ask yourself if it was your responsibility. For example, victims of sexual abuse often feel ashamed of that. But if you were not the abuser, you have nothing to be ashamed of.

On the other hand, if you were, in fact, responsible for whatever you’re ashamed of or guilty about, then find a way to put it right. This is why Steps 8 & 9 of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps are

  • “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
  • “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Nobody ever said this would be easy.

Now what if you didn’t do anything illegal but telling the truth about it wouldn’t get you what you want? 

Mitt Romney is the perfect example. Let’s assume he’s done nothing illegal (I’m assuming this because no one has ever asserted anything to the contrary). But telling the truth, which goes something like, “I made hundreds of millions of dollars by sending US jobs overseas and then not paying taxes on the money I made”, is not likely to get him what he wants, which is to be President of the United States of America, as it is deeply at odds with American values. If you were Mitt, what would you do? Obfuscate, of course. Change the subject. Refuse to answer the question, and blame it on the questioner, or the audience, who just wouldn’t understand (“We’ve given you people enough information.”) That is, be opaque, not transparent. A refusal to be transparent suggests that you know what you have done is morally wrong, if still within the letter of the law.

And this is why people don’t trust those who are clearly hiding something, who are not transparent.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.