Be Honest Like a Smelly Goat

“How rotten and fraudulent when people say they intend to ‘give it to you straight.’ What are you up to, dear friend? It shouldn’t need your announcement, but be readily seen, as if written on your forehead, heard in the ring of your voice, a flash in your eyes — just as the beloved sees it all in the lover’s glance. In short, the straightforward and good person should be like a smelly goat — you know when they are in the room with you.”


We shouldn’t have to announce that we’re going to be honest now. Next time someone says, “Look I’m going to be honest with you,” take a moment to think about what that means.

We shouldn’t need to broadcast our truthful intentions, because it should be obvious in our eyes, in our manner of speaking, in the expression on our face. It should be painfully clear, like being in the same room as a smelly goat (love that quote, by the way, one of my favorites).

Honesty should just be our default behavior, so that we don’t have to clarify when we’re being honest. It should just always be how we act, and expected from us. Ideally we’ve built a reputation over time as a truthful person.

What’s more, we should act in an honest and truthful manner at all times not just for the reputation, but because it’s the right thing to do. Be honest like a smelly goat for your own sake, because doing good is good for your soul. And because dishonesty and wrong behavior is wrong for you and for the people you love.

(PS – In addition to smelly goats, please consider your reaction to stinky armpits.)

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