The Fundamentals of Greatness: Why “Radical Honesty” Makes Everything Better & How to Use It Optimally

By phildrolet

Aug 02

Audio recording time: 16 minutesReading time: 8 minutes

What would happen if you suddenly decided to be honest about everything?

No more lies (even white ones), bullshit or hiding facts to manipulate others’ perception of you.

Would your life be suddenly filled with conflict and drama?

Would people hate you for telling the truth?

Or would you experience better relationships and lower stress than ever?

Those are questions I asked myself 18 months ago.

To become a King I knew I had to master values such as honesty, integrity and loyalty… even when it’s difficult.

Especially when it’s difficult.

So I decided to set up an experiment.

What happened next blew my mind.

In this article, I’m going to share with you some of my unexpected discoveries, “honesty hacks”, and a comfort zone challenge to help you master Radical Honesty.

… and reap the mind-boggling benefits that come with it.

Let’s tumble down the honesty rabbit hole.


zen peak performance


As we enter this alternate reality, we must first ask ourselves a simple question:

Why is it so difficult to be honest?

I’m not talking basic honesty- ie, no blatant lies. That’s beginner stuff.

I’m talking sharing our deepest truth, vulnerability and constantly going towards hard conversations instead of avoiding them.

In my opinion, there are 4 main reasons:

  1. When we were children, we’ve all been scolded for telling the truth. This lead us to believe that truth equals pain, and even worse, loss of love. So we started telling our parents/teachers/coaches what they wanted to hear because it felt safer.
  2. As we got older and our ego developed, our #1 fear was that we weren’t good enough. So unconsciously we developed a “social persona” in the hope that we’d be accepted. But that persona is not our true self. It’s a mask, a facade.
  3. We live in a society where radical honesty is very rare. How many people do you know who embody it? For each one of these special beings, we’re exposed to hundreds of people (in real life and on social media) who unconsciously pretend to be someone they’re not.
  4. Most of us have never made a rock-hard commitment to truth-telling. As a result, when we’re faced with a difficult situation, we often take the path of least resistance. Tell a little white lie. Hide our true feelings. Play it safe… Even if it means sacrificing our integrity.

As you can see, the deck is stacked against us. If we don’t consciously work on this, we’re always going to be tempted into some level of dishonesty.

But the good news is, with rock-solid commitment, the balls to go for it and the willingness to embrace occasional awkwardness, it can be overcome.



I remember it like it was yesterday: I’m about to call my mom, and I’m nervous.

I know she’s not gonna like what I have to say… but it’s time.

My mom and I have always had a great relationship but like most moms, she worries about me. A lot.

And truth be told, it’s stifling our relationship in a big way. Whenever I share a new project or idea I’m excited about… instead of encouraging me or helping me brainstorm, she asks me all sorts of fear-filled questions that cramp my style.

“What if it doesn’t work?”
“Shouldn’t you do something safer?”
“Are you sure you’re going to be OK?”

Ahh, I hate it! And it’s extra frustrating because I actually have a good track record over the last 30 years.

But it doesn’t matter. That’s the pattern in our relationship, and unless I do something drastic, it’s going to stay the same.

I dial her number, she picks up and we start talking. After chit-chatting for a few minutes, it’s time for some radical honesty.

“Mom, you know I love you, and our relationship is very important to me. But there’s something that’s bothering me.”

“Oh, what’s that honey?”

I go on to explain the situation, how I feel about it.

She starts to cry… but I was expecting that.

I cringe a little bit but I carry on, knowing this is a pivotal point in our relationship. I can’t back down now. Full steam ahead.

I ask her if she would be open to us exploring ways we can “upgrade” our relationship so she worries less about me, and so we can connect with each other on a more optimistic level. She agrees.

15 minutes later, we have a deal: she’s going to make an effort to be more encouraging/trusting when we talk, and I’m going to text her more often to tell  her how I’m doing more often. Boom.

A few minutes later, I hang up the phone and exhale deeply. It is done. It wasn’t easy but it was well worth it.

Update: It’s been several months since this conversation and our relationship has never been better. I now jokingly call her “Zen Mom” because she’s so chill and encouraging now. All this thanks to one Radically Honest conversation!


After 18 months of challenging myself to be as honest as I can be, I’ve discovered a clear pattern:

When we speak our truth with unusual boldness and infinite kindness…The result is SURPRISINGLY positive.

I’ve tried again and again to disprove my own theory, and I have yet to find a situation where I regretted telling the truth.

But I can tell you tons of cool stories about how it’s made my life better.

After a year and a half of running this experiment, I can tell you with full sincerity that there are 4 very clear benefits to practicing Radical Honesty.

  1. Your life will become much simpler. No more overthinking, scheming and posturing. Just tell the damn truth. This will free up immense amounts of energy and mental RAM.
  2. People will trust you more. Everyone has a 6th sense that allows them to feel when someone is truly authentic. Because it’s so rare, people will find you deeply attractive and be more willing to do business, friendship or romance with you.
  3. People around you will be more real. The moment you open up and show your true colors, you give others the permission to do the same. Your authenticity will contagious. This will lead to better conversations and more loyal relationships.
  4. You’ll be aligned with your highest path. If you’re being radically honest and someone likes you-  you’re a good fit. If they don’t like you, you’re clearly not meant to play life together. No biggie, just go your separate ways. This will allow you to only spend time with people who are aligned with your highest path.

Superman pulls his shirt open


Here’s the secret to all this: you have to learn to tell the truth properly. It’s both an art and a science.

First off, you have to be tactful. If you come at people like a bull in a China shop, you’re going to run into trouble often.

There are 3 micro-skills you must master to be optimally effective: 

#1 The tone of your voice.

Did you know that more than 60% of communication is non-verbal?

That means that the actual words you use count for less than half.

Imagine saying the following to someone in an aggressive tone:

I was really frustrated that you didn’t show up for our meeting.”

How is the person likely to respond? They’ll put up a wall, get defensive or attack you back.

Now both of you are upset and stuck in drama. Boooo.

Alternatively, imagine saying the same thing with a gentle tone:

I was really frustrated that you didn’t show up for our meeting.

How is the person most likely to respond then?

They’ll acknowledge how you feel, apologize and maybe offer to make it up to you.

Same words, different tone, much better outcome.

#2 Your Timing

Some people say that life is all about timing. In the case of Radical Honesty, there’s a lot of truth to that.

It’s very important to wait until a time when the other person is a calm, receptive mood before we share Radical Honesty with them. Especially if it’s something somewhat uncomfortable.

For example, if you want to tell you girlfriend that you would like to have a more experimental sex life, it’s probably unwise to bring it up when she just came home from a stressful work day.

Instead, wait until you’ve just spent a great day together, she’s feeling happy and relaxed, and then start opening up about the topic. Your odds of having a positive, constructive conversation will go up 10x.

#3 Be unattached to the other person’s response.

All of humans are bundles of conditioning, trauma and triggers. This means that when you say something to someone, you never know which “nerve” you might hit.

As a result, it’s possible that initially they’re going to overreact, EVEN if you said the right thing with the optimal tone. It has nothing to do with you.

And as one of my mentors, Jesse Elder, likes to say: “the greatest human freedom is allowing others to have their own experience.

The truth is sacred. It’s pure. It’s real.

And it’s bound to upset people on occasion.

Allow yourself to recognize what’s happening but don’t make yourself feel bad or lose your center because they’re having a bit of a tantrum. That’s just part of the game.

Here’s the important thing to understand: they might not like right this moment… but once they calm down, they’re going to see the truth in what you said. Then they’ll realize it’s an honor to receive someone’s honest words, and they’ll appreciate you for it.

With these 2 core strategies, optimal tone of voice and unattachment to the person’s response, now you’re ready to give it a try.



So how shall we begin?

How about with a little comfort challenge?

For the next 7 days, I invite you to say only the truth, nothing but the truth and all of the truth.

Be radically honest.

About how you feel. About who you are.

What you like. What you don’t like.

Your biggest dreams. Your deepest fears.

Let it all out. And notice what happens.

Yes, it’s scary and feels like walking into a dark forest.

But remember this… We’re all humans. And we’re more similar to each other than we realize. We all have fears, dreams, insecurities, frustrations, aspirations, etc.

We just forget that. We’re too busy hiding behind our shield.

Let’s change that. Imagine a world where everyone was honest, kind and caring with other…

How much better would life be for all of us?

Well, it starts with you and me.

I’ve done my part. Now it’s your turn.

Much (honest) love,

PS Please share this post because that’s how we can spread Radical Honesty around the world. More Zen Peak Performance Coming To You Soon!

Enjoyed what you read?

Sign up below to get future pieces sent directly to your inbox.

Which Historical Leader Are You?

Take this 5-minute quiz to find out
and receive customized leadership advice. 

Like what you're reading?

If so, you should give our email newsletter a try. You'll receive 2 emails/week to help you achieve world-class results in your career and relationships. 

We promise not to use your email for spam.