But in the same way that having a neck full of unwashed facial hair doesn't make you any better at video games, engaging in morally dubious behavior doesn't directly help you succeed in your work. In fact, if you're the type who is actually bothered by doing terrible things, researchers have found that having dark secrets in your past literally weighs you down.
In a simple experiment, researchers asked participants to think of a secret and indicate whether it was something trivial, like that time you accidentally watched that entire Here Comes Honey Boo Boo marathon, or something deeper, like when you buried that prostitute -- everyone knows, Gary (that ought to freak out at least one reader). They then asked the participants to look at a hill and rate its steepness.
Coincidentally, this is also where you buried her, Gary.
They found that people who were reminded of their deepest secrets rated the hill as steeper than those who only thought about their tiny white lies. They then tried the experiment again, and this time had the participants judge the distance of a target. Same deal: The darker the secret, the further away the target seemed to be. It's like someone had flipped the difficulty to "hard" for those people.
Well, this isn't a coincidence. Previous research had proved that when you're physically burdened, you also perceive hills to be steeper and distances to be longer. This is a psychological effect: When we're tired, we think of challenges ahead of us as harder to accomplish. Turns out that the same thing happens when the burden is in our minds rather than on our shoulders.
Now you know why your back hurts all the time: You're a douchebag.
In other words, when you have a deeper secret that you don't want to share, something you're ashamed of, or something wrong you've done that haunts you, it literally weighs you down and makes it harder for you to work. There's a reason it's called "carrying a secret" -- the worse it is, the greater of a weight it holds on your body.
So if you want to be successful you have two options: be a good person, or become a care-free sociopath.
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