“You Can’t Handle the Truth!” Is This Reality Speaking?

“You can’t handle the truth” was a line Jack Nicholson delivered with anger and conviction back in 1992.  This movie sound byte still reverberates today.  What’s been your experience with this phenomenon?  How often do you curb your tongue because you believe that someone couldn’t deal with the reality?  Aren’t we short changing someone’s growth and improvement when we withhold honesty?  Do we even address it’s impact on us?  We call it protection or being a friend, but isn’t perpetrating a fraud what we’re really doing?

Questions, questions, so many questions.  American Idol televises the fallout of those who have been spared the truth.  I mean, have you seen all those prospects who actually believe they can sing?  Parents, friends, family, they all perpetuated that Nicholson line.  Now these wannabes can’t hear the truth even when professionals and the rest of the country cue reality.  Hey, their embarrassment, humiliation and anger make for good TV.  But, is withholding truth good for life?

I know, I know… when someone asks, “Does this dress make me look fat?” we often feel that honesty is not what’s needed here.  So we continue with deception when we hear bad voices trying to sing.  We call this white lies and argue that we’re being tactful or attempting to spare someone’s feelings.  We call ourselves a team player when we cover for someone at work and do their job as well as ours.  But here is where that movie line actually unmasks a truer revelation.  It’s not the OTHER person who can’t handle the truth.  It’s US!  We’re the one lacking the emotional intelligence.

YOU can’t handle the truth is actually, I” can’t handle the truth.  Why?  It’s the expected backlash that we can’t handle.  Anger, shock or disbelief comes pouring out with wide eyes, tense posture, amplified words or cascading tears.  There are so many expressions that can speak a reaction.  This is what we are unprepared to address.

Gratitude, relief, validation or delight is the reaction that comes out with smiles, animation, joyous sheiks and hugs.  This we can handle.  It’s the pain we want to avoid.  So because we don’t learn how to deal with emotions, particularly those uncomfortable ones, we practice deceit.

A few years back I was attending one of those networking events where you meet potential clients and pass business cards.  A saleswoman from a local radio station was working the room with engaging intros and an upbeat patter.  I noticed that when she shook hands her eyes wandered and her enthusiastic greetings seemed a bit forced.

When we later met for coffee, I let her detail her sales pitch while being intrigued by all her contradictions.  After about 30 minutes of her rapid monologue, I asked if she would like some personal feedback.  I then shared what I observed.  I told her I saw a person who appeared to be struggling.  I related that her cheery and confident persona seemed to be a camouflage.

Even though we were sitting in a very public coffee house, she started to cry.  Tears leaked down her face as she searched her purse for tissues.  Had this happened earlier in my life, I’m sure surprise and embarrassment would have prompted me to console, apologize and wish I had kept my big mouth shut.  Experience and emotional intelligence prevailed though and after helping with the tissue search, I listened as she revealed her efforts to hide and survive in a cold competitive business.  She became my first one-on-one Elite Motivation coaching client.

For years I consulted with organizations and businesses, providing staff development trainings.  Now, because I didn’t follow Jack Nicholson’s movie advice, I extended my services to individual coaching.  Truly a win-win coffee meeting.

Most people don’t learn how to improve their communication or emotional intelligence skills.  Oh sure, they may buy some of the hundreds of books on the subject, but reading about EQ will not make you emotionally intelligent.  I’m afraid it’s like learning how to play a piano or drive a car.  Spend all your time and money on books, videos and seminars and you’ll still fail to engage the one thing that really teaches.  Experience!

jack-nicholsonThat’s right.  Information is found in books, videos and seminars, but application and skills mean practice, rehearsal and performance.  This is something you learn by doing.  Did you get your driver’s license because of books, lectures and DVD’s, or did you have to put your hands on the wheel and drive?

The merging of IQ and EQ is what I do.  My Elite Motivation practice for helping people improve their skills is called MOVVE!™  Nothing is better than putting information and intentions into action!  And if Jack Nicholson was doing the marketing he’d say, “You CAN handle this truth!”



Book Cover5When you have direction and a destination worth living, change and improvement just takes practice.  Get on the MOVVE with Elite Motivation!

My book, Elite Motivation, can be found on Kindle and Amazon.  Follow this link to find out about it: goo.gl/OPZXsp

Movve Book coverMy Guidebook, which offers a graphic filled step-by-step format can also be found on Amazon and Kindle.  Here’s the link:  MOVVE – The Five Keys of Elite Motivation

Contact Jamie Cox M.Ed., (509) 396-4307, email: themovve@charter.net or at our website: themovve.com  Discover MOVVE™ our procedural application of Elite Motivation that walks the talk of messages, information and knowledge.






20 Responses to ““You Can’t Handle the Truth!” Is This Reality Speaking?”

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