If you say no to your boss, or your spouse, or your mother, when it needs to be said, you transform yourself into someone who can say no when it needs to be said. If you say yes when no needs to be said, however, you transform yourself into someone who can only say yes, even when it is very clearly time to say no. If you betray yourself, if you act out a lie, you weaken your character. If you have a weak character, then adversity will mow you down when it appears, as it will, inevitably. Set your ambitions, even if you are uncertain about what they should be. The better ambitions have to do with the development of character and ability, rather than status and power. Status you can lose. You carry character with you wherever you go, and it allows you to prevail against adversity. Imagine: you go to engineering school, because that is what your parents desire—but it is not what you want. Working at cross-purposes to your own wishes, you find yourself unmotivated, and failing. Your soul will reject the tyranny of your will. Why are you complying? You may not want to disappoint your parents (although if you fail you will do exactly that). You may lack the courage for the conflict necessary to free yourself. You may continue believing that there is someone who knows you better than you know yourself, and who also knows all about the world. You suffer because you are truly not meant to be an engineer. One day you have had enough. You drop out. You disappoint your parents. You learn to live with that. You consult only yourself, even though that means you must rely on your own decisions. You take a philosophy degree. You accept the burden of your own mistakes. You become your own person. By rejecting your father’s vision, you develop your own. And then, as your parents age, you’ve become adult enough to be there for them, when they come to need you. They win, too. But both victories had to be purchased at the cost of the conflict engendered by your truth. As you continue to live in accordance with the truth, as it reveals itself to you, you will have to accept and deal with the conflicts that mode of Being will generate. If you do so, you will continue to mature and become more responsible. You will ever more closely approach your newer and more wisely formulated goals, and become even wiser in their formulation. Your conception of what is important will become more and more appropriate. You will quit wildly oscillating and walk evermore directly towards the good. Everyone needs a concrete, specific goal—an ambition, and a purpose—to limit chaos and make intelligible sense of his or her life. But all such concrete goals can and should be subordinated to what might be considered a meta-goal, which is a way of approaching and formulating goals themselves. The meta-goal could be “live in truth.” If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. If you feel weak and rejected, and desperate, and confused, try telling the truth. Tell the truth. Or, at least, don’t lie.