Gentlemen Do Not Hide Their Weaknesses

Guan Ming

PureInsight | December 13, 2007

[] Some people
tend to hide their weaknesses and are afraid of being taken advantage
of once the weaknesses are shown to other people. Some people think
'domestic shame should not be made public,' so when they know that
people close to them have done something wrong and are not able to face
the reality, they will protect them and cover up the wrong doings.
However, what a real gentleman should do is be frank and open and be
the same outside and inside, which is a virtue.

There is an old saying: "Shortcomings can not be hidden, and will
become worse if they are kept in hiding. Strengths should not be over-
praised, and will not be strengthened if they are over-praised." In the
"Twelve years of the King Xuang from the Zuo Zhuan" (The Chronicle of
Zuo), it is witten: "There are eclipses of the sun and moon. How do
they affect their brightness?" It tells that you will not harm your
image by showing your weaknesses. Henry Hawkins, the Managing Director
of Henry Food Incorporated, found the preservatives used in their
ingredients were poisonous, but helped the food have a longer shelf
life. The degree of toxicity was not very high, but they would harm
human beings if they were taken over a long span of time.  If they
were taken out, the food could not be kept long. If this laboratory
report were made public, the whole food industry would oppose his

After careful thinking, Henry decided to tell the public: The
preservatives are poisonous so they are harmful to human beings. After
this was known, almost all the food industry enterprises blamed him and
accused him of having an ulterior motive. They jointly rejected
products from the Henry Food Incorporate, which led to an endangered
situation for the company.

The dispute lasted for four years. Hawkins lost lots of money because
of his honest and firm action, but he became well-known by every
household in the United States. The government started to support his
company's policy. Then the products of Henry Food Incorporated became
the most customer-trusted foods of all. The company recovered quickly
and then expanded. Soon, Mr. Hawkins came to the preeminent leader in
the food industry.

Lin Pu wrote in his book, Xingxin Lu
(The Self-Examining Journal) in the Song Dynasty. It said, "A man who
knows to correct himself is still a gentleman; while a man who doesn't
do so isn't a gentleman either." Hiding mistakes is like not going to
see a doctor when one is ill, which only deteriorates the
situation.  Admitting mistakes and rectifying them promptly will
reduce the consequences to the minimum. It is not a dreadful thing for
a person to have weaknesses. The dreadful thing is if one acts
arbitrarily and doesn't admit his mistake. The cover up can last for
only a short period but not forever. The act of cheating is not
following the natural principles and will be punished eventually. One
should be frank and honest and then can gain respect from others. This
also will help one's practice and achieve a higher state in one's
spiritual life.

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