Do people like to hear the Truth?
Many times no.
I have been thinking about this for a while and I many times get into trouble because I prefer to disagree and tell the truth to people, when I know for sure that they are wrong. However when I disagree or tell them the truth or facts they don’t seem to be happy about it. A colleague of mine advised me to tell half truth, instead of giving them the true facts, again I think its a terrible idea.
Why we need to tell the truth, even if its not good to hear?
I do get the fact that the truth is not always pleasant or good to hear. But for how long you can live in the bubble, listening to the lies and feeling happy about it. We might be thinking by lying to a friend that is all good, when they ask for an opinion or feedback, we are helping him/her. But trust me you are not. A true friend will tell you unpleasant truths.
Over 3,000 years ago, King Solomon wrote, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Telling your friends something they really don’t want to hear, like warning them about a relationship, takes courage. It says that you care about the person even more than you value the friendship.A True Friend Will Tell You Unpleasant Truths – THE NEWYORK TIMES
In business world, especially in start up world all these feel good answers are costing a lot. Its costing the entire business itself.
Why we need to accept the truth, even if its not good to hear?
Rob Fitzpatrick explains really well about the consequences of listening to the ‘feel good’ answers from potential cleints in his book The Mom Test. The book gives you quick and easy handbook about how to get more learning and more sales out of your customer conversations. Even when everyone is lying to you. This is why many market research reports are pointless. The raw data they collected itself will be biased or wrong.
The world we live in is getting so fucked up everyday. Nobody wants the truth. Parents are lying to their kids telling them they are the best, even when they are not. Parents forces the school and makes teachers to lie to the students telling them they are the best, no matter what. Education system is lying to them, giving them marks they don’t reserve, only to finally find out years later everything was a lie.
The human brain doesn’t enjoy receiving information that threatens our self-esteem, shatters our preexisting beliefs, makes our daily lives more difficult, or threatens our status. Admitting that we’re wrong about something, or even partially at fault, isn’t easy, even when it’s for our own good. When the truth hurts, we want to protect ourselves from the pain and so we find a way to shut down, stop listening, or otherwise resist. And we’re not always aware that it’s happening.Cognitive Dissonance Helps Explain Why We Hate To Hear The Truth – FORBES
I see many whatsapp ‘support’ groups where various creations are posted, graphic works, content pieces, website designs etc. These support groups are filled with people asking for validation. Even when they ask for feedback of their work, in their mind they are expecting everyone else to say, its brilliant work. And as everyone wants the same in return and nobody wants to be the bad guy, everyone just praises each other. In between there are few, who act like they are the leaders, give one critical feedback and 5 feel good feedbacks, they are the worst. And it ends with ‘thanks a lot, means a lot to me’. The same person goes to a client with the work, clients ain’t ready to pay for it and now client is the bad guy. You see the problem?
Understand this, the likes you are getting and all comments on your work are all fake. Even social media platform algorithms get this. They don’t care about the likes anymore. However ‘shares’ tell a different story. If someone took the effort to share something to someone else it shows real interest, it is real validation. Because when you share you are vouching for it, your reputation is at stake. So you share carefully.
Business should aim for this, age old word of mouth marketing. If you want to be around for long this is the only way. You can burn money and get a lot of things done, but it cannot go on forever. When you are burning money, giving offers and acquiring customers you are also enjoying that feel good factor. But understand this, customers are lying to you. They are with you only for the offers.
But if you are giving them the truth, slowly build your reputation and deliver what they expect, you may not be serving to millions of people, but the ones who are with you, they will stick with you. Not every business has to be scalable, not every business has to be next Facebook, Uber etc. You can serve to the minimum viable audience and still be very successful.
“Find a corner of the market that can’t wait for your attention. Go to their extremes. Find a position on the map where you and you alone are the perfect answer. Overwhelm this group’s wants and dreams and desires with your care, your attention, and your focus. Make change happen. Change that’s so profound people can’t help but talk about it.”In search of the minimum viable audience – SETH GODIN
If you really want to succeed in life and career, learn to deal with brutal honesty. If you are selling a product in Amazon or anywhere online, look for the negative reviews and see whether you need to fix them. From a customer point of you I am telling you, even when you have 95+ve reviews against 5-ve reviews, I will make sure I read those 5.