32. Reality. Who needs it?

On three separate occasions this week I attended client meetings and watched the identical scenario unfold each time 

In each case it was like being an audience member sitting in the front row and watching a three act play.

Act 1. – Accepting that we are helpless victims.

Scene 1.

The curtain rises to reveal four senior executives of Hopeless Case Inc. gathered around their 27 seat imported Italian marble board room table, butts comfortably plonked into African elephant-hide designer chairs with built in Japanese electronic massage systems.

The purpose of the meeting is to review the most recent financial results.

The first few minutes are spent drinking Kenyan coffee and nibbling on Belgian chocolate while staring nervously at their Swiss watches waiting for the CEO to arrive.

Scene 2

Having reviewed the financials and labelled them “dismal, desperate and depressing” the focus of the conversation shifts to finding an acceptable reason upon which these dreadful results can be blamed so that the shareholders will understand that these dedicated and committed executives are mere helpless victims of  events beyond their control.

Thankfully, the reason is easy to find.

It’s the economy 

There’s nothing we can do.

It sucks. 

It gets worse every day.

There’s nothing we can do.

We’ve never seen anything like it.

Nobody’s buying anything.

There’s nothing we can do.

Damn government, it’s all their fault.

Our competitors are in the same position 

There’s nothing we can do.

Somebody should do something.

We are barely hanging on by our cuticles.

There’s nothing we can do.

Scene 3

The sadness of the moment is captured by the image of five people sitting disconsolately around the table, heads down, shoulders slumped, voices ringing with despair. 

Platters of Chateaubriand wait in warming trays, untouched.

Bottles of Dom Perignon sit in Sterling Silver ice buckets, unopened, ignored.

The curtain drops to the sound of Taps.

Act 2. – Revisiting memory lane.

Scene 1.

The curtain goes up as “I’m happy, happy, H-A-P-P-Y” blares through the speakers.

Laughter fills the board room as our five actors gleefully reminisce about times past.

Mouthfuls of Filet disappear into suddenly hungry digestive systems as previous successes are relived.

Crystal wine glasses filled with Dom are raised to laughing lips and emptied down thirsty gullets as tale after tale of good times, big bonuses, rising stock prices, increased sales and endless access to money are happily recalled.

Waiters wearing starched white corporate uniforms busily remove empty plates and gently place Truffles in front of each executive as one by one they recapture past moments of their own glory and excitedly tell of their extraordinary successes back in the good days when everything was as it should to be.  

The joy of the moment is captured by the image of five people sitting excitedly around the table, heads up, shoulders straight, voices singing with joy. 

Scene 2.

Suddenly all these good feelings disappear when someone, unwittingly, proclaims, “I sure wish those good ol’ days were back again.” 

Five bodies are instantly snapped out of five states of reverie as the realization that the past doesn’t exist anymore and that, in the present moment, the economy still sucks. 

The sadness of the moment is captured by the image of five people sitting disconsolately around the table, heads down, shoulders slumped, voices ringing with despair. 

The curtain falls. The absence of music intensifies the sadness of the moment. 

Act 3. – Back to the future.

Scene 1.

Two new actors have joined the group. The CEO has brought in his Senior Executive Assistant to write stuff on the whiteboard that was revealed when he pressed a button at his seat causing the oak panelled, wall mounted, gilt edged covers to rise majestically into the ceiling.

The Senior Executive Assistant brought her Not So Senior Executive Assistant along in order to “capture” everything on her laptop.

Everyone was focussed on the hopelessness of the situation. They were helpless participants in an unfair world. 

They needed a strategy for survival. 

They had responsibilities which could not be taken lightly.

They needed to brainstorm.

And so they came up with a plan.

  1. They would reduce the salaries of everyone not at this meeting. This would motivate their employees to produce more in the hope they could get their old salaries back at some indeterminate point in the future.
  2. They would lay off another 20,000,000 people as an additional 20,000,000 people without incomes and with no money to spend would go a long way to helping the economy recover.
  3. They would lead by example. They too would suffer. They would each forfeit two weeks of their annual vacation and only take ten weeks of holidays and each of them would fly economy once each quarter.

It’s the darn economy. 

There’s nothing else they can do.

Scene 2.

The executives stand up and warmly shake hands with each other congratulating themselves for their wisdom in recognizing that these were the only options available and were necessary to ride out the storm until the economy turns around and that there really was nothing else they could do and given that it was nearly two o’clock, our executives headed out for a round of golf at the country club where membership was one of their executive perks.

The actors exit the stage. 

I truly did watch that play three times this week. 

In the second version the executives were small business owners and the boardroom was a local restaurant and in the third, the actors were five salespeople form the same company and the venue was a local coffee place.

In each case the stage was different, the settings were different, the script was the same.

The economy.

There’s nothing we can do.

Here’s the point.

Life often delivers things that we don’t want and that we didn’t sign up for:

A weak economy.

An awful boss

A lousy job.

No job.

A tough childhood.



A bad relationship.

A horrible injury.

A devastating medical diagnosis.

And when it happens, we don’t like it. And we often spend time thinking and talking about what we, and/or they, could have, should have, ought to have, or shouldn’t have done to prevent it.

Regardless, all that is irrelevant.

Here’s the lesson.

It is what it is.

That is not a frivolous, sarcastic or discounting statement. It is the absolute truth about our reality. It is what it is.

Whether we caused it, or not. It is what it is.

Whether we are victims, or not. It is what it is.

Whether we like it, or not. It is what it is. 

I think you get the point.

It is the situation. It is our present reality.

It is what is now.

And what we often do, perhaps to make the pain of the reality go away, we reflect on past times when the pain wasn’t there. 

But the past isn’t here anymore. It’s gone. It will never come back.

We even have a name for it. 


And while history can be a great teacher, living in it only provides a temporary escape form our present reality.

It is what it is.

And whether we like it or not, we need to accept it for what it is because we can’t change it.

What we can change it how it affects us, what we do about it and what we can do to influence our future. 

We do this by using the greatest gift God gave us – the incredible gift of choice. 

It is present with us every moment of every day.

So the actors were correct. 

The economy sucks. 

And they were right when they said we can’t change the economy.

But we can use our gift of choice to decide how we will prosper in this economy.

It is what it is simply describes our reality.

It tells of a situation. That’s all.

The rest, how we react, how we allow reality to affect us, that’s our choice.

And it’s not in the past. 

It’s right here, right now.

We were each given the wonderful gift of choice.

Let’s choose to use it well.

Till we read again.

P.S. If you enjoy reading my blog please forward this to your friends and encourage them to subscribe. I have a goal of having 5,000 subscribers and I really need your help in getting there. Thanks, Rael

1 thought on “32. Reality. Who needs it?

  1. John Reynolds Reply

    “It is what it is.”

    In my experience, this phrase means “I don’t want to dwell on this anymore,” or perhaps less tactfully, “Stop talking to me about this.”


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