JP Morgan used to say that people usually have two reasons for what they do: the REAL reason, and one that sounds good. Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, tells us to appeal to the one that sounds good in order to get people on our side. As effective as that is, I’l have to admit that Carnegie’s suggestion always seemed like manipulation to me rather than genuine engagement. Does it work? Sure, but it’s a philosophy based on the Western tendency to believe it’s okay for people to use each other.
That being said, when you want to pursue a business or personal vision, having a real reason that is different from the one that sounds good may not interfere with its success if we measure by profit, but it can affect the legacy of that vision. Ulterior motive also tend to lead us toward manipulation, deceit, and under-handed tactics which in time may very well poison our relationships. I’m all for success and profitability, but in the end there is no substitute for authenticity and integrity.
As you build your vision, a great way to protect that vision’s integrity is to periodically as yourself if there’s a ‘real reason’ behind your decisions that differs from the ones that sound good. As I discuss i my book, The Million Dollar Hustle, your real intention will influence your decisions, and your decisions will determine your results… and their consequences.
What can you do today to refine the integrity of your vision?
Yes, I went to see Godzilla. Yes, I liked it. A lot. I’ll admit I was hoping for him to get more screen time, since I grew up watching old Godzilla films on Saturday mornings like so many other people of my generation. Also, not unlike most of us, I have a fascination with monsters, but perhaps not for the same reason.
There’s something in most of us that enjoys the thrill of a good scare, and people have different theories as to why this is, but in my own case i’d have to blame it on my older brother. You see, at an early age, my brother had me convinced that monsters were real, with particular emphasis on the one in the closet and the one under the bed. Not content with tormenting me in the usual manner of big brothers, he went so far as to sneak into the closet, climb under the bed, and do various other things to persuade me that monsters were real indeed.
Unfortunately for him, I didn’t cower in terror for long. At the ripe age of five, it occurred to me to throw objects at the closet as hard as I could, and even to swing a broomstick under the bed for good measure. Eventually the ‘monsters’ made no further appearances, and to this day I wonder whether my brother had managed to catch an unintentional beating at my hands.
Looking back, the truth is that whether we’re dealing with a monster in the closet, or the various fears we encounter in life, courage is a decision. Sure, I was scared out of my wits when a pale hand would reach up and grab me as I was falling asleep, and the shadowy figure in the closet visited me in my dreams more than once, but I’d watched too many old monster movies to believe a monster couldn’t be hurt.
Will you face your fears today? I hope you do. You may find out that your monsters aren’t quite as tough as you thought they were.