Something You’ve Wanted to Do—And It Makes You More Honest

Something You’ve Wanted to Do—And It Makes You More Honest

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dr. Dan Ariely and other researchers have studied what leads people toward being dishonest. In a series of tests, they had individuals solve simple math problems under a time constraint. They purposefully made it so that the people taking the tests could cheat seemingly without getting caught. 

Prior to some of these tests, they had the test-takers write essays without using the letters “a” or “z,” then take the test. Other test takers were told to write essays without using the letters “a” or “n,” which is significantly more mentally taxing. 

What happened to the rate of cheating among the groups? The people who wrote the easy essays only cheated at the “baseline” rate, while those that wrote the mentally-taxing essays cheated far, far more. Through this and other studies, Dr. Ariely et al. found out that people are more likely to be dishonest if their willpower is worn down. That is, if you’re exhausted mentally, you have a harder time regulating your desires, and are more prone to act immorally. 

Jesus had to correct a Jewish misconception about rest when he said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-3:6) God knows that you need a rest, and that you need time to unwind. If you never take time to be alone, you’ll end up with willpower that’s worn to the bone, and you’ll be a lot more likely to cheat: on tests, on diets; even on your spouse. 

Don’t feel ashamed about getting some R and R in to polish your moral compass and make it more readable. Jesus Himself made sure to refresh His mind, and so should you.

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)

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