The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Peter Drucker

As you ponder your Resolutions for the New Year consider these two quotes:

”The first role of the leader is to define reality.” Max DePree

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” William Shakespeare

Remember in terms of your own life - you are the leader. I encourage you to tell the truth but if you do lie at least never lie to yourself. I believe everyone lies (if you say you don’t lie, you’re doing it again). The damage caused by our lies to ourselves is greatest because it begins a process of delusion. We will no longer know the truth when we see it. This is the same fraud or denial that allows an addict to perpetuate his / her addiction. I encourage you to ponder this… now… really… truthfully…

What triggered this discussion on lying, delusions, and the trip Back to the Future was the listing in Friday’s paper of local leaders and their New Year’s Resolutions. Hope is good - grounded hope that is acted upon is better. A process to achieve the resolved goal is best. Resolutions achieved are great but rare. Most are delusions.

Although not shaped in the form of a New Year’s Resolution, my favorite all time hope was expressed by a Miss America finalist when asked about what she wanted for the future. She answered, “World peace and getting my own apartment.”

Of the list I read on Monday, the two most reasonable were from my friend Michael (a local Sheriff), “Till more soil, plant more seeds, pull more weeds, savor the harvest (both literally and figuratively).” Michael is a philosopher operating incognito as a politician. He’ll truly work on this. Good luck, Michael.

Teri, a hospital CEO, said simply, “Be more patient.” In her role, I’m sure patience is needed. As a no non-sense leader, I’m sure she’ll try.

For 10 years I taught risk and insurance at LSU. Every semester at the start of class, I surveyed the students to determine their priorities for life - for the future. Each year without exception success and security were the top two picks. The order of these choices often changed but they were always either # 1 or #2.

When I’d ask the students to define success - they’d just stare at me with a “deer in the headlights look.” They were committing their life to a pursuit of something they could not define. My simple suggestion to them then and you now is make a Resolution. Once you have made this important choice - define success, structure a plan and build a process. Follow the process and when you fall, stand back up.

When the students requested my definition of success, I responded - “Wake with passion, grow in wisdom, and rest in peace.” My delusion for 2010 is not to lose weight because I’ve tried that and have failed. In 2010, I resolve to grow taller.

Copyright - Michael G. Manes (January 3, 2009)

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