On honest representations

We frequently create and present representations of things or people that we have interest in their success, for example when being interviewed for a job, presenting our work at a conference, writing a recommendation letter, or in day to day activities when talking about ourselves or anything/anyone that we care about.

An honest representation includes all non-trivial limitations that matter, but explains them and contextualizes them to ensure that the representation is suitable for its purpose.

A representation doesn’t have to be honest to succeed (at least a short term superficial success); but if you care about honesty, you need to think deeply to really understand the limitations of the entity being represented, to come up with the right representations that let you achieve what you think is deserved.

Honest representations do not simply come from crude honesty. What is referred to as crude honesty is often thoughtless honesty; actual crude honesty will be to offer a complete record of every related event from every perspective which, assuming it’s possible, is like raw data; others rarely bother to process it.

In an evaluation process, it’s not too hard for the evaluator to feel the dishonesty; the evaluator may feel betrayed; the one being evaluated may feel guilty and worthless (unless he/she is used to it perhaps); observers may feel pity for the dishonest.

We can be honest about the past and hopeful about the future.”Fake it till make it” is not about dishonesty about the past; it’s about being confident in and embracing our capacity. Believing in ourselves pushes us (and hence the world around us) to use more of our capacity.