The use of distractions and diversion tactics is unfortunately common place in politics and in business. Designed to disguise what is really going on, such smoke screens aim to deceive and mislead. While it is one thing to be misled by politicians and unscrupulous businessmen, it is quite another thing to be misled by yourself. I am referring to how we can sometimes create smoke screens for ourselves.

Avoidance tactic

Creating smoke screens for ourselves can be an unconscious way of avoiding having to deal with emotionally challenging, but significant life issues. Rather than acknowledge our own insecurities around something, we might blame people or circumstances for our inability to move forward. Rather than really ask yourself if you are fulfilled by what you are doing, you might point to lack of time for being unable to consider the question.


Blaming the lack of time is convenient. It can also be made to appear like a defensible argument ― a smoke screen that can be backed-up. “Just look at my diary”, you might say.

Ultimately, no matter how convincingly you make the case for being busy, you are making this case against yourself. We can live our whole lives being so ‘busy’ that we fail to notice and connect with the things that really matter to us.

Recurring pattern

We can even make a habit of throwing up smoke screens to avoid dealing with difficult situations or making tough decisions. Becoming aware of any such pattern is crucial if you really want to make the best of yourself. Noticing self-created smoke screens is half the job, the rest requires you to dare to go beyond.

Walking beyond the smoke

Avoiding important issues is a dangerous game. This is particularly true when they have to do with fundamental aspects about who you are and what you want. If you suppress something for too long, there is a danger that it emerges someday with a pent-up force that is far stronger.

Walking through the smoke takes courage. It requires you to dare to acknowledge what scares you ― to dare to work through it. While this may seem difficult today, it will serve you better in the long-run. It will allow a healthier integration of that thing you would rather avoid.

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