Think About It

Telling Yourself the Truth

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | March 15, 2014

“Most of what happens in your life happens because of the way you think. Wrong thinking produces wrong emotions, wrong reactions, wrong behaviors, and unhappiness.”
Dr. William Backus

Tim Elmore shares the “price” of little, white lies as told by Lynn Austin. “My 5-year-old son had been looking forward to visiting the planetarium while on vacation, but when we arrived we learned that children under 6 were not permitted.”

“Let’s pretend you had a birthday,” I told him. “If the ticket man asks you how old you are, I want you to say, ‘I am 6.’”

“I made him practice it until he sounded convincing, then bought the tickets without any problems. When the show ended, we moved onto the museum. There, a large sign read, ‘Children 5 and under admitted free.’ To avoid the $5 admission fee, I had to convince my son to forget his pretend birthday.”

“The consequences of my lie became apparent as we walked up the steps to our last destination, the aquarium. ‘Wait a minute, Mom!’ my son said with a worried look. ‘How old am I now?’” 

If you think lying to others is wrong, lying to ourselves can be catastrophic. Elmore goes on to caution young people against the effects that lies can have upon their lives. His warnings can apply to all of us.

Instant Customization – The belief that I should have a customized experience in all that I do. Often we find ways for life around us to adjust to our uniqueness but far more often we are the ones who must adjust. The world is a big place and rarely will we find a perfect glove to fit our hand. 

Instant Gratification – The belief that if I want it, I should have it right now. Which do you prefer … work first, then play or play first, then work?  For the person who always wants to play first, they may miss some of the best things in life which require patience and persistence. Whenever you do what you know you ought to do even though you don’t feel like doing it, you’ll be a better person.

Instant Socialization – The belief that I must stay in constant communication with others to be happy and fulfilled. I must admit, my life changed when I got an iPhone. The world and all the people I knew were instantly at my fingertips. At the San Diego Airport I just saw a phone booth without a piece of technology because that device is no longer needed. How easy it is to socialize with long distance friends and completely miss those who are sitting next to me. 

Instant Affirmation – The belief that I need immediate, positive feedback from others to feel okay. Yes, sometimes affirmation comes instantly. If I hit a homerun to win the game, the crowd roars. But if I mow the grass or organize the equipment or wash the dishes, the crowd may hardly notice. We must learn faithfulness even if no one cheers us on.

Instant Information – The belief that I must have all the available information on a subject right away. I’ve heard it said that our challenge with information overload is like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. The supply is abundant but our capacity to process it is another matter. Sometimes we are just not ready for all available information on a subject.

In 1980, Dr. William Backus wrote the bestselling book, “Telling Yourself the Truth.” I love the thesis of the book. Too often our self-talk is inaccurate. We may overestimate or underestimate our strengths and weaknesses. 

As Backus said, “Much of what happens in your life happens because of the way you think. Wrong thinking produces wrong emotions, wrong reactions, wrong behaviors, and unhappiness.”

In the words of Charlie Chan, “Hasty conclusion like toy balloon: easy blow up, easy pop.”

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, Pa. 
Responses can be mailed to president@vfcc.edu 
Official page: Facebook.com/DrDonMeyer
Follow on Twitter: @DrDonMeyer
Archives at www.vfcc.edu/thinkaboutit


You're Watching: My name is Michael Stetson and this is my story