“Honesty is the best policy.” We’ve all heard this before. It’s something our mothers said all the time. Nobody likes a flatter, or at least an obvious one. If you look at the traits people want in a partner, honesty is one of the biggest ones. Everyone wants to hear the truth … at least in theory.
Those Russians have some good proverbs.
In practice, we often face the exact opposite situation. The truth can hurt people. If someone asks, “Do you like my new haircut?” and you think it’s hideous, what do you say? If you tell the truth, you can wound that person, potentially even ruining a friendship. Is a little white lie that much of a problem? Does it really matter? Is the truth more important than a person’s sense of self-worth?
I find these questions interesting, partly because lying is so foreign to me. You see, I almost never lie because I’m a terrible liar. Continue reading
Perfection. That seems like such a great, powerful word, does it not? Perfect is positive! If you get a perfect score, a perfect ten, a perfect grade, a perfect day, a perfect anything, you are absolutely set. Nothing is better than perfect, and if you have an opportunity to make something perfect, than you should absolutely do it, right? Right?
I’m not referring to the classic game Perfection, though I was quite good at this if I do so say myself.
It’s funny, because perfectionism is one of the most cunning traps out there. We pour more and more effort into something that, frankly, is already good enough. The difference between 99% and 100% is incredibly small, but we often chase that 1% for hours and hours and hours, and we rarely if ever find it. It may even be impossible, but we still strive for it, sometimes unceasingly, and in the end we become nothing more than Sisyphus rolling that rock up that hill.
I have a problem with perfectionism, and nowhere is that more clear than chess. Continue reading