Do you consider mass appeal a virtue or a vice? It can be very difficult to come up with something that appeals to a large amount of people unless you have pulled off some kind of trick (like marketing).
Dishonesty can be an excellent tool for getting lots of people to buy a wishful dream that the seller won’t really help happen (weight loss, popularity). It’s also vital if your credibility depends on maintaining a fake aura.
Honesty, I am learning, can be an excellent tool for getting a precious minority of people to buy into a visionary dream that the seller really does want to happen, more than anything else.
There is a third way of course – my old way. In previous jobs, I was sometimes capable of holding my arguments together with a web of standard reasoning, worn out language, and abstract forecasts. This is the worst way, through its sheer crappiness: no authentic honesty and no convincing dishonesty. It rarely blew anyone away, just saved me the worry of actually standing out or risking judgment.
That’s why it has been so refreshing to get involved with Project Dirt, a couple of guys who are working towards their vision of enabling widespread environmental change.
They know that honesty is the only way for them. They have a genuine vision, and they want to recruit people to it. They can’t best achieve this by telling people what they want to hear, or contaminating their work and diluting their vision with fibs.
This approach carries a risk of divisiveness, by not appealing to every audience (especially those who want to be told what they want to hear). But if it does yield a result, it can be a better one, in the form of a likeminded, genuine companion and supporter.
People like the Project Dirt guys, whose purpose revolves around change and therefore being different, have some lessons to offer me on the power of an honest approach.