Confront the Brutal Facts
In order to improve in anything in life, you must face the brutal facts. An honest and accurate assessment of your current situation and environment is imperative. If you’re not realistic, then you will have an extremely difficult time succeeding and progressing in all spheres of life.
Four areas are highly correlated with your ability to confront brutal facts:
- Goal Setting
- Archiving Past Victories and Failures
- Benchmarking Performance
Goal Setting and Planning:
It should come as no surprise that points 1 and 2 are highly dependent on your current environment. If you set unrealistic goals and plan for unrealistic results, then you will not succeed. You are actually setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. We’ve discussed the importance of establishing concrete objectives in order to significantly increase your chances of being successful.
When you fail to understand the key inputs and variables that will lead to success in your chosen field, then you cannot create a realistic plan. The majority of individuals are too lazy to conduct the necessary research. As a result, they have not confronted the brutal facts. Their idea of what is required to achieve their goals is skewed. For example, they may not understand the obstacles in their path and therefore believe that their goals are easy to achieve. When the going gets tough, they quit.
In another example, an individual may not research the size of an industry and therefore assumes that a certain number of products will sell. This unrealistic sales target might be set too high! I’ve seen it before where individuals fail to understand their industry and have planned for a certain level of demand that exceeds the size of the entire industry!
Do your research and understand what is required to be successful in your field. Then establish realistic goals and plans. This will maintain your motivation! Furthermore, this drastically improves your ability to succeed.
Archiving Past Victories and Failures:
We recently discussed the positives of keeping a daily journal and archiving your life. As we mentioned, being realistic and facing the brutal, but honest, facts is imperative. You want to create an accurate history of what has transpired in your life. If you do not include the brutal facts then you will not be able to extract any value from your journal in the future. You need to know exactly what transpired in order to improve in the future. Learn from your past mistakes and do not lie to yourself.
Creating accurate benchmarks and milestones keeps us motivated. As our victories begin to accumulate, we can track our progress relative to our initial benchmark(s). We start to run into problems when our benchmarks are not realistic! We cannot help but think that we are working so hard, yet making little progress.
This stems from one’s inability to confront the brutal facts. Similar to goal setting and planning, one must research realistic benchmarks. For example, growing your customers to 1,000,000 in a month is highly improbable. Again, it depends on your industry (which is part of your due diligence). If you are in a low growth industry, then you must own that brutal fact. You might have a great product that will take over the market, but you need to account for how long it will take to do so.
Your research will allow you to establish realistic benchmarks. You might need government approval. Perhaps your industry is highly competitive and you need to build your brand. This shouldn’t deter you, but it must be reflected in your benchmarks. Painting a rosier picture only hurts one person: yourself. What you view as slow results is actually normal given your industry, product, idea, or project.
Be prudent and responsible. Conduct the necessary due diligence. Just as an inventor in the stock market or real estate, you must analyze the industry, catalysts, obstacles, and potential downsides. Only after you conduct thorough research can you make an informed decision.