If you wish to be successful in life a simple but powerful truth is that you must face reality. Only when you have a clearheaded, brutally honest self assessment where you set aside all the things you wish you were, all the things you wish you had, and all the things you tell yourself are true but that are not, only then can you come to terms with who and what you are or what you have and develop a road map to lead you forward in life.
I've commented to my family, friends, and clients many times that it is critical to develop a road map for where you want to go in life, and to develop a detailed plan of action for getting there. Well, such a roadmap only works if you truly know from where you are starting the journey.
Let's discuss some examples of this tendency to not face reality.
Today, more than ever, many people work very hard to portray an image to others of a level of success that is grossly exaggerated from their true level of success. One common example of this are the people who surround themselves with expensive material belongings, building the image that their assets far exceed their true amount. Such people often are living from paycheck to paycheck with pitifully small reserves should something happen to slow down or extinguish their earned income. Then you have those who drive the large car, further enhanced by expensive chrome rims, and that seem to scream "prosperous and well-to-do." In reality these people are often building a world around themselves that is nothing more than a shell which will crumble quickly when difficulty sets in. If you doubt this just look at the number of car repossessions and home loan foreclosures occurring every day.
Another example comes to mind from my own life, though I, unlike many, do tend to periodically perform a brutally honest self-assessment. I tend to hate conflict and pain, whether it is physical, mental, or emotional. Therefore, I sometimes slide into a mode where I begin to procrastinate on important items. If you've studied procrastination you'll realize that one of the most prominent motivators causing us to procrastinate is fear. For example, currently I am gradually losing weight, but I had allowed my weight to get to a very unhealthy level. By not paying conscious attention to my weight and health and by consciously avoiding the pain of realistically looking at the difficulties which lie ahead if I didn't lose the excess weight, I failed to take any concrete steps to change my body.
Another example from my own life comes from businesses I helped set up and that I am responsible for managing. In the past I've had team members that failed to perform as required for my companies to benefit, usually costing my companies far more in dollars than the equivalent value received. I failed to quickly acknowledge their shortcomings and weaknesses, and therefore by the time I took action it not only hurt my companies more but also hurt those I needed to let go. The failure to face reality in this situation was my refusal to accept that they did not fit, and my desire to avoid the pain of having to let them go, especially as these individuals were friends and I knew the breakup would jeopardize that friendship.
Another simple, but powerful example of the failure to face reality is near and dear to many people but they refuse to think of it. Many people dream of achieving financial success during their lives. Yet, they continue to routinely think and act in terms of just paying the bills, and getting a job that is easy and that requires little in the way of stretching, or reaching beyond their comfort zone. Instead of facing the reality that unless they do something different, time is going to assuredly pass them by and they will never realize the financial freedom they desire. Perhaps it is a fear of failure, maybe a fear of the unknown, or it could be just plain laziness that leads people to delude themselves into dreaming that someday things will be different if they keep traveling down the same path. It is much better if they face reality. Maybe they'll make a conscious decision that living a life of barely squeaking by each month, never having enough to sustain them after their bodies wear out and work is no longer an option, is what they want for their lives. If so, and it’s a conscious choice, then fine. But if not, then facing reality and doing whatever is required to build a different life is the only way that a different life will be forthcoming.
So, in closing, ask yourself if you're facing reality in all areas of
your life. If not, make a conscious and decided commitment to perform
a realistic and brutally honest self assessment right away. Then consider
your dreams, consider where you're truly at, and see if you can find a
path that bridges the gap from where you are to where you want to be.
We hope that you have found this article useful and we welcome your comments and suggestions.
Copyright © 2006 by Ron D. Pate. All rights reserved.