Reality Blog: The Perils of Keeping Up Appearances and How It Can Affect Your Business


Do you care what others think about you?

Most of us do. However, some care more than others… way more. So much so that it can be extremely damaging to yourself, your loved ones, and your business. Keeping up appearances can be crippling in so many ways.

I have an older mate (buddy) who rose to great heights as a highly successful businessperson. We’ll call him Mick.

What follows is a story of how Mick rose and fell, all because he was afraid to just be himself. This is a cautionary tale of how caring too much about what others think of you can lead to sadness, despair, and possibly even financial ruin.

The Seeds of Success

Mick’s childhood was much like mine. He was brought up on a sheep and cattle station (ranch) as a child, learning to hold his own among the rough and tumble of four lively siblings. Mick had a happy childhood with stable parents and a loving family.

His parents instilled a work ethic in him. They didn’t care what career path he chose, so long as he simply tried his best.

In hindsight, Mick took this to heart… and then some.

He was always a bit of a larrikin, quick with a humorous comment and always up for adventure. Mick’s a lovely person, good-natured, generous, and genuinely caring. And he’s good company.

Now, Mick and I were always mates, even though he was quite a bit older than me. We were kind of like big brother and little brother. He looked out for me.

With schooling complete, Mick moved away from the family farm to study commerce at university. Then he landed a job in Sydney’s CBD, diving headfirst into the high-pressure finance industry at age 21.

What I didn’t realize until just a few years ago was his insatiable drive… and how much he cared about what others thought of him.

Grand Ambitions

Just last year, we had a long phone call. He confessed his life wasn’t going to plan, it was falling apart.

And he told me a story I’ll never forget.

In Mick’s words, “When I first moved to Sydney at 21, I made two promises to myself. The first was to become a millionaire, back when a million dollars was a lot of money.

“The second was to own a house on the Harbour.

“So I jumped in my car and drove around the Harbour.

“I finally pulled up in Vaucluse, along one of those cliff lines overlooking the Harbour. Those massive houses blew me away. And the views across the Harbour… unbelievable!

(Vaucluse is the exclusive address right on the shoreline of the magnificent Sydney Harbour. Median house price is $5.2M.)

“I decided that one day I’d own one of those houses.

“And both of those promises have come true. But now I wonder if it was worth it.”

Remember, Mick was 21 when he made that pact to himself. At 21, I was more worried about talking to girls and partying! I had no idea he was so driven.

So how did Mick achieve his goals? And what did he sacrifice along the way?

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Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Andrew has traded the daily grind for a life on the road. He loves the lure of Australia’s wide-open spaces, solitude and isolation. Andrew and his wife Peta are experienced remote travelers, living the simple life on the road. They travel, work and live in their 4x4 truck camper. Andrew plans to build his Money-Making Website Top Wire Traveller to the point where it provides a regular income... enough to sustain their lifestyle on the road.


  • Wow. I think this story is a good example of how having money, property and wealth doesn’t always lead to happiness. Success can be defined in so many different ways.

    For me being happy and successful in life is not defined by how much wealth I have. It’s being able to do the things I love to do with the people I love.

    I enjoy writing. It’s a passion for me as well as a hobby. Learning new skills and facing new challenges are other ways I define success. My faith sustains me and keeps me motivated to continue working toward the goals I have set for myself. I have established goals for both my freelance writing and copywriting career and in many other different ways.

    Thank you for writing and posting this story, Andrew. It demonstrates a valuable life lesson for all of us.

    • Hi Sheila,

      Lovely sentiments, I agree wholeheartedly.

      To me, success is about happiness and feeling comfortable within our own skin. A simple formula, yet so many lose sight of it.

      Regards, Andrew

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