No Matter How Educated, Talented, Rich or Cool You Believe You Are

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No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything.

Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics conducted a research to shed light on our tendency to compromise our integrity. The preconceived idea is that people are either honest or dishonest or that few bad apples spoil the bunch, but his experiments have led him to conclude that “everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats-just by a little.”

In one experiment, college students were tasked to solve 20 easy math problems within 5 minutes and given 50 cents for each correct answer. Once 5 minutes was up, they would submit their worksheets to the experimenter who counted up the correct answers and paid accordingly. The participants solved an average of 4 math problems.

Now here’s the interesting part: Ariely then introduced a different condition in which they checked their own answers, shredded their worksheets, and reported their scores. This gave them a chance to lie and be paid more than they deserve-and they did! They claimed to solve 6 problems on average. More interestingly, it was not just 2 or three people who cheated but almost all of them-but just by a little bit.

Losing our integrity doesn’t happen overnight: it takes one act of dishonesty to push us deeper into the habit. The good news is that it’s a behavior-based virtue anyone can cultivate through practice. From the words of Baltasar Gracian: “A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.”





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An amazing discovery in an abandoned house in Austin, Texas: A lost book of amazing survival knowledge, believed to have been long vanished to history, has been found in a dusty drawer in the house which belonged to a guy named Claude Davis.

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