Forget the Quick Fixes. Real Success Takes Hard Work and Responsibility.

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“Help” wrote Jay. “This isn’t working for me.” We were in the second week of a business development program. The entire program was slated to take thirteen weeks, and he was already frustrated. The initial part of the program required a lot of heavy lifting. Tons of ground work and foundation building. All the stuff needed to build the foundation.

Jay skipped over that part. Heck, he was in a hurry and didn’t want to waste time on the tedious stuff. He jumped right to the final chapter. Then he couldn’t understand why he was stuck. At this stage he wanted everyone else to bail him out.

We’re in the age of quick fixes and instant gratification. The world is more advanced technologically that it’s ever been. We have instant access to news and information. We’re exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly in real time. Maybe that’s not such a good thing.

Want to lose weight? Forget it took you years of eating crap and sedentary living to pack on the pounds. You want to slim down now. No problem. Just look for the latest miracle weight loss diet. Shell out your money on special foods, probiotics made from unfiltered hyena milk, or coaching by the latest guru to the stars. Three months from now you’ll be half the size. Failing that, you can find some doctor to staple your stomach. 

Are you in debt up to your eyeballs? Don’t worry about it. So is everyone else. Hey, it’s not your fault stuff costs so much. You deserve nice things and you shouldn’t have to wait to get them. Right?

Forget about the student loans you paid for your worthless degree.  It didn’t even get you a decent job. You deserve that $70,000 truck. It’s not too bad when you spread the payments over ten years.

You need to live in a nice place. Maybe it’s a bit more luxurious and expensive than you can afford right now. So what? You can get the right furniture on credit.

Don’t forget you must have the latest smart phone, the newest fashions, and you must eat out at the trendiest restaurants. That’s what credit cards are for … providing you with instant gratification.

Here in this land of milk and honey, we’ve don’t like thinking about the future. It’s too painful. We’re into quick fixes and instant gratification. We like to pretend we’ll never have to pay the price.

Sure, we’ve got excuses. We get exposed to all sorts of bad examples in the media. We have a Congress, a Senate and a President who spend money like drunken sailors. Trillions of dollars in the deficit? Budget maxed out? No problem … just borrow more. Time to clean house.

OK. Time for a reality check. There’s no free lunch. We eventually pay the price. Yeah, we can put it off for a bit, but the tab comes due. Keep up our irresponsible behavior and we’ll crash and burn.

Keep eating with abandon and we’ll become obese. Then we get sick. Then we get introduced to the other consequences. Diabetes and it’s ravages, heart disease, stroke, COPD, Alzheimer’s, etc., etc. Poor health is not an inevitable consequence of getting older.

Keep spending beyond our means and we’ll run out of money and credit to the point where we can’t afford a roof over our heads. Not a pretty thought.

Now for the good news. It doesn’t have to be like that. It’s never too late to change. It doesn’t even have to cost money. It requires rethinking our priorities. It does require taking responsibility for our own actions. It takes time and it takes discipline. Don’t worry about keeping up with the neighbors. Realize stuff won’t make you happy. You’re special and you deserve better. Don’t get suckered by the glitz. Take responsibility for your own well being. Be happy.

OK. I normally write on sales and sales management. That’s my passion. It’s what I do.  Today I got a little side-tracked by Jay’s whining. I realized not accepting responsibility for our own activities is a fundamental problem in our society, not just in sales. There’s no quick fixes. No real shortcuts. Just hard work and responsibility.

Oliver Connolly is the founder of Street Smart Sales Management. Helping small to mid-sized companies create a sales force that consistently overachieves.

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