Smoke and Mirrors Impede Success

I recently boarded a flight to Los Angeles for the holidays. During my wait at the gate, I witnessed a lot more stressed out people than usual, which got me thinking about health and other issues in light of the New Year.

So why do so many people feel so emotionally uncertain these days? More importantly, could they be doing anything new to improve their stressful situations? Do they exercise on a regular basis? Could they eat healthier foods over the course of their lives? Did they or do they work unfulfilling jobs that have slowly impacted their quality of life so much that they have found themselves both mental and physically challenged?  I know that I’ll never know their real stories or what actually caused their current situations, but it caused my mind to wonder.

I recently read a great quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, “Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”

In my upcoming book, Growing Success: A Young Adult’s Guide to Achieving Personal and Financial Success, I refer to this dilemma as not being able to get out of your own way.  Unfortunately, people either get set in their unhealthy, self-destructive ways or they do not have the strength or commitment to change things in their lives. As a result, they make excuses for their damaging behaviors and attitudes, which I refer to as “smoke and mirrors.” They tell themselves, “If I only had more time, I would….”; yet these same people never do seem to find that time.

With the New Year quickly approaching, it’s time to stop making excuses and putting things off.

Successful people take initiative. They do not talk about what they intend to do; they actually plan and then take the appropriate action necessary to achieve desired outcomes.

After you’ve toasted and rung in the New Year, if you plan to sit down to begin to craft some New Year’s resolutions of your own, take the time to base them in reality. Do not create unrealistic expectations for yourself. Challenge yourself to take accountability for your health, your finances, your job or career prospects, your personal relationships, and anything else that will force you to thrive outside of your current comfort levels.

Most unsuccessful people live in a world of denial (e.g. those illusions Nietzsche refers to in his quote). As a result, unhealthy habits and experiences often manifest in their personal and professional lives. Rather than address real underlying issues, they often blame others or make excuses for the things that either make them feel uncomfortable or insecure. If left unchecked, these denials can manifest unhealthy, stressful outcomes.

The next time you choose to settle for the status quo, take a moment to look inside and ask yourself, “Is this really the life you want? Or is your “smoke and mirrors” reality simply impeding your success?

Happy New Year and cheers to your growing success in 2013!