We live our lives believing there are sharply defined and crystal-clear moments of truth--moments when we are struck with an epiphany and have to change something in our worlds. And myth has it that these earth-shattering slices of time prompt us to dramatically change who and what we are.
But the fact is, we tend to camouflage the epiphanies, tuck them away in the recesses of our minds, and even deny their veracity or their very existence.
We convince ourselves that all will be fine. And so often we do nothing, turning the moments of truth into moments of lies. We do this in our business lives, our personal lives and the lives that are a fusion of both because:
- What was once good was so good, we don't want to admit that it no longer holds that high ground. So we just don't face it.
- The strategy we created before taking a new product to market seemed so brilliant on the drawing board but failed in the real world. But we say something may change tomorrow. Magic may happen. The strategy was too ingenious to fail. But in the fleeting moment of truth, it did fail. And in the moment of lies, we just don't face it.
- The investments we make in anything--a marketing campaign, a new technology, a sister company--may look like a sure thing at the outset. A slam-dunk. And then the champagne goes flat and the losses accumulate, and it's that moment-of-truth time to take our hit and sell, but we just don't face it. Moment of truth to moment of lies.
- We haven't had a new idea in years, and our company or our career trajectory reflects this. So it's time to think and dream and come up with that new insight that will effect real change. Unless we do, we are hopelessly sliding down the arc of a has-been. Painful moment of truth. But hey, I still have my job and people still buy from my company, soÖI'll get to it. Moment of lies.
There are no paint-by-numbers instructions to living a great life. To making a difference. The whole chain of neutrons and protons is too complex for that. But we can make a difference by keeping the moments of truth from turning into moments of lies:
- Recognize that these moments of truth are pathways to change.
- Don't fear change. It will happen to you no matter how much you seek to avoid it. It is simply whether you control the agenda or you blow in the wind.
- Use the change you engage in to exceed anything you have ever done before--to be wiser and tougher and more creative.
James Taylor wrote, "The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time." And learning from it. And turning the learning into action.