Mindstate Motivation Blog

Lies People Tell Themselves That Are Honest Mistakes

I remember a guy in high school who was a member of the “cool crowd” or maybe I could better describe it by saying the “in crowd.”  Either way, he was in the group that almost everybody else aspired to be a part of.

I mean this guy had it all.  He was on the important athletic teams; had a gorgeous girl he walked between classes; the family owned a local business; he lived in the best part of town and, frankly he was a handsome character.

He was also a liar.  He was so adept at lying it was very difficult to know when he was actually telling the truth.  His skills at lying became somewhat of a class joke.  He was a likable guy, though, and we all made excuses for him.  We gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was just making honest mistakes.

The fact is…people lie to themselves all the time within the context of making honest mistakes.  The problem is in almost every instance those lies told within honest mistakes result in potentially major, negative consequences.


Take the picture at the beginning of this post as an example.  The person way out in front of the rest of the runners told herself the lie that the starter’s gun had fired.  Honest mistake…it happens all the time.  It may even have happened to you!

The downside in such a situation is physical energy is consumed that may be needed for the rest of the race…embarrassment from having told such a lie to oneself…potential disqualification from the race.

None of those consequences are positive and, yet, the person made an honest mistake.


How about this one—you tell yourself you want to achieve a particular goal.  You start doing the things you think you need to do to achieve the goal.  On the other hand, you lied to yourself about how easy it was going to be to get to the goal.

It was an honest mistake because you didn’t understand what it was going to take to reach the goal.

Wow!  The big time downsides are things like disappointment; maybe even depression; loss of self-confidence; fear of failure in the future and so on.

Here again, none of those consequences are positive and, yet, you made an honest mistake.


Another lie you can tell yourself and be honestly mistaken is as it relates to your career.  You start out on your career path telling yourself you are going right to the top…nothing is going to stop you…it’s where you ultimately belong.

It turns out your assumption was a total misrepresentation of the facts (a lie) because you unexpectedly get derailed.  You had honestly believed you had what it took to “go all the way to the top” but failed to understand the political pitfalls while on such a journey

It was an honest mistake.  How were you to know there were some jerks in the organization who were going to make sure you didn’t make it?

The potential downsides of such a situation are major financial, mental, physical and relational destruction.


Personal relationships can be a major source of risk for lying to yourself while making an honest mistake.

You meet someone for the first time and in your emotionally charged state of mind you tell yourself s/he is perfect.

It was an honest mistake.  At the emotionally driven level of your initial engagement in conversation the subject of his/her criminal record never came up!

The downside in dealing with all the emotional baggage in such a relationship when it breaks up can be devastating and last for a long time.


You lie to yourself by believing your best course in life is to be an entrepreneur.  You are sure of it because you read an article espousing all the fantastic benefits of self-employment.  Things like, being your own boss; keeping your own hours; unlimited income potential; yada, yada, yada.

It was an honest mistake.  Nowhere did anyone tell you about the sleepless stress-filled nights wondering how to overcome the myriad problems you face.

Fear, stress, deteriorating health, shrinking bank account, employee relations problems are all potential downsides and many more, probably.

Get the point?  Any time you make an honest mistake that, in effect, translates into lying to yourself you are going to suffer negative consequences.  PERIOD!

So don’t do it!  Choose to act on the single best solution in any one of the above scenarios.

Remain objective and don’t jump the gun until you are sure you have ALL the facts.

Crop of GNCC ShotShare with us one of the lies you told yourself while making an honest mistake and how you overcame the situation?

Please share your thoughts by commenting below.  

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