Dealing with the Facts

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Years ago, I read Marshall Goldsmith’s book, MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It. At the time, I was dealing with some personal challenges and needed to get myself back on track. Here’s one passage that continues to resonate with me.

Waiting for the facts to change–instead of dealing with the facts as they are–is a common response to a setback. It’s the response of the owner of a dying business who refuses to cut costs or lay off workers during a continued downturn because a turnaround is just around the corner. It’s the response of a shopkeeper in a decaying part of town who gamely sticks to his product line and his way of doing business even as customers disappear, revenue shrinks, and neighboring stores shut down. The area will come back, he thinks; it can’t simply vanish.

When people wait for discomfiting facts to change into something more to their liking, they’re basically engaging in wishful thinking. It’s the opposite of over-committing because it leads to underacting (or under-committing and not acting at all). Instead of doing something, you’re frozen in place while you wait for a more comforting set of facts to appear. In a world that’s constantly rushing forward, this is akin to moving backward. That’s a mojo killer.

When the facts are not to your liking, ask yourself, “What path would I take if I knew that the situation would not get better?” Then get ready to do that. If the world changes in your favor, you haven’t lost anything. If the facts do not change, you are more ready to face the new world.

Source: MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith