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Replacing Subtle Lies With the Elusive Obvious

By Garrett Gunderson

Blatant lies are easy to recognize and avoid; the subtle lies can ultimately be more destructive because they are much more difficult to detect and uproot.

Subtle lies seem to make sense and to carry a certain air of credibility. They are often supported by supposed proof and factual evidence that spread and perpetuate them.

Many times they appear in the form of half-truths, or truths taken out of context.

As these myths gain hold in society, they seem obviously sound—so obviously so that we don’t question them. They are sometimes indications of good intentions, but they carry unintended and often unseen negative consequences.

Myths which are believed in tend to become true.
—George Orwell

Subtle lies also take root in times of chaos and conflict; they can appear as saviors in times of extreme circumstances. They find fertile ground in atmospheres of fear and greed. They appeal to the baser side of human nature.

They make destructive paths seem better by focusing on short-term rewards while disguising long-term consequences; by their very nature they encourage shortsightedness.

They make us forget the big picture and lure us into focusing on unimportant, trivial matters. In the words of Stephen Covey, they get us into the “thick of thin things.”

When we begin to strip the myths bare, we quickly find that declaring them false takes nothing but common sense.

We have all had experiences where, after a significant change in our mindset, the new truth that we have discovered seems so obvious that we wonder why we haven’t seen it before. So it is with these myths—as soon as we turn our full attention to evaluating their worth, it becomes clear that they are nonsensical at best, and at worst, actively destructive.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up
and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
—Winston Churchill

The “elusive obvious” is the truth that lies just under the surface of the hype, rhetoric, and propaganda that distracts us from seeing it.

For instance, many of us are taught to go to school, get good grades, choose a traditional career, and aim for jobs at a stable corporation with good benefits—even if all of this means that we spend our lives stuck in a situation that doesn’t bring real joy. We’re taught that it’s “risky” to pursue our passions—especially if those giving the advice can’t see a way for us to make money by doing so.

But when we carefully analyze such traditional advice, we begin to see how ridiculous it is. When we study the lives of the ultra-successful, we find a common thread: all of them pursued their passions instead of ignoring or stifling them for the sake of security. Where would the world be if Walt Disney, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates had followed this terrible advice?

How can it be risky to wake up each morning and do what we love doing, provided it is moral, principle based, and creates value in the world?

Sacrificing the things that bring us the most joy for an imaginary security, and therefore not living up to our potential, is actually the more risky thing to do. This, then, is the elusive obvious behind the advice to sacrifice passion for security.

do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.
—Steve Farber


Garrett Gunderson is an entrepreneur, financial coach, the founder of Freedom FastTrack, and the primary author of the New York Times bestseller Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity.

Garrett loves inspiring others to turn their potential into production. He has dedicated his life to living and teaching a unique concept known as Soul Purpose that reveals how anyone can live a more prosperous and rewarding life.

As a finance and business productivity coach, Garrett instructs both large and small groups of business owners and financial service professionals nationwide.

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