Honesty; a Key to Success in Business and in Life.

Honesty; a Key to Success in Business and in Life.

Honesty according to Wikipedia refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.

I find this explanation quite intricate. It simply becomes the backbone of a chunk of this article. Honesty is the backbone of all other virtues. Integrity exists not save in the context of honesty as does many other moral behaviors. Honest as such is highly valued across the ethnic, religious, cultural divide and borders.

Honesty as a word first appeared in English in the fourteenth century.  It derives from the French word (h)oneste, which in turn derives from the Latin word honestas. The Latin word was formed from the adjective honestus, likely deriving from honos, “honor,” which is of uncertain etymology. The Roman linguist Varro suggested Onus, “burden” as the root of honors, as though honor weighs us down morally. Definitely, it does.

In the above retrospect, I realize that when one receives honor, they have to do their best to maintain it. The resultant effect is moral integrity. It thus becomes a product as opposed to raw material.

In other words, for people to see you as honest, it is a product of intracellular habit, happening within you, to external manifestation observed by other people. For honesty to be described of a person, they must have done repetitive acts suggesting a habit of straightforwardness in conduct and absence of lying.

Honesty, be it in life as for friendships or business is very useful. To be successful, honesty has to be prime in your character. In partnerships, just like a marriage, the success of the venture is very paramount. If trust issues are eminent, success is dim. Ego creeps in and never again do the partners realize that the business is bigger than any of them.

Marcus Lemonis, an entrepreneur and television personality for CNBC’s The Profit puts honesty as number one in all the deals he signs on the show. Once you shake his hand, you have sealed your fate as his partner. You better keep to your word. In business, let ethics and integrity define you. It is very important to your brand.

Jon Huntsman, author of the book Winners Never Cheat, a multibillionaire who built a 12billion dollar Enterprise from scratch writes in the book,

“There are no shortcuts in the game of business or life. There are three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.”


Great people understand that honesty and integrity should never be compromised by cheating. People kill most friendships, partnerships, and businesses by not saying the truth. If the truth is said, they fear to swallow disappointments in case things break loose. They don’t realize they are killing those institutions by lying. Honesty and integrity are the foundations of leadership as Brian Tracy puts it.

Agree to things you can only be able to do. Promise the things you can only accomplish and do. Whenever you promise something, live up to that promise. Even if it is a promise of buying a gift of 5 cents or meeting a person for only 5 minutes; live up to that promise

In business, subscribe to the rule of open communication. Never do things behind other people’s backs. Get involved and measure up to the task at hand. Honesty is built over time and hence, presence is key. In a relationship, keep in touch often. In partnerships, do things together and adventure as a group. The absence of a person means lack of willingness and often breeds mistrust. Lack of trust means lack of honesty.

Honesty is a tool to win people. In the book, The 48 Laws of Power, author Robert Greene indicates in law 12 that use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim. He states,

One sincere and honest move will cover dozens of dishonest ones. Open-hearted gesture, honesty, and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will –a trojan horse- will serve the same purpose.

I don’t mean you use tact, rather you can redeem your character of honesty. Honest is a killer weapon. Use it to your advantage. You will become overly successful. I will smile you became and stayed successful because you used the power of honesty.

Always strive to be honest yourself and even instigate honesty in those you interact with. Maintain honesty with your friends and the friendship will soar. Cultivate honesty in business and let the sky be the limits. Cheers in your endeavors.

Start doing small acts of honesty and generosity today and watch your life change.


Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at info@dailyfocus.co.ke
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