Winning Words

The grand illusion in the land of confusion


Music just seems to have a way of connecting us with feelings of inspiration, motivation, adventure, romance, sorrow, and love. We can remember where we were the first time we heard those songs, the people or person that we were with and how we experienced the mus

Dating myself here as I share that I am a little stuck in the ‘70s and early ‘80s when it comes to my preferred genre of music. My playlists for working out, walking, or skiing are a collection of my favorite songs from that era. This week, as I was listening to one of my playlists, I found the irony and prophetic wisdom in a couple of the songs that made it into my mix. The first was Styx, “The Grand Illusion,” and the song that followed was Genesis, “Land of Confusion.” I asked myself: “Irony or prophecy?”

Styx’s “The Grand Illusion” lyrics caught my attention: “Welcome to the grand illusion, come on in and see what’s happening, pay the price, get your ticket for the show.”

It made me think of everything that has been going on in our country. The points of view, posts, political speeches, censorship and what the news covers and does not cover. And just how serious of a situation we are in no matter what side we fall out on. And in the situations that we are finding ourselves in could well be described as the grand illusion that appears in our news and social media each day. Are we believing in the magic of the spin doctors on all sides and at every level, so much so, that we cannot determine what is real?

Genesis’ “The Land of Confusion.” This was a unique political song for Genesis. It refers to the thinking of world leaders at the time, specifically the United States and Russia. And on the heels of the Styx song mentioned above, “The Land of Confusion” filled my ears and my heart with the recognizable beat and lyrics. And as the song played, as loud as I could get it to play, I found myself anticipating and waiting for a particular part of the song, “There’s too many men, too many people, making too many problems, and not much love to go-’round, can’t you see this is the land of confusion.” Could it be any more spot-on today, especially considering that it was released in 1986? We need more love to go-’round.

As we all come to the same conclusion that it is an illusion and it is confusion, we will find ourselves thinking, “Now what?” For those of us not caught up in the mania that is taking place, we wonder how we should respond, what can we do, how do we live, work, and play amidst the illusion and confusion? Here is the answer, just as we have seen magic shows and magicians live or on television, and then we get to see the hacks from behind the scenes, we are entertained for sure, but we accept it at face value. It is magic. So, when we think of the grand illusion let’s look for the hack and the reality. Not trusting those who are trying to convince us through emotion but looking through the illusion and confusion by using our good judgment and common sense to draw our own conclusions.

One last song lyric from a tune by the Moody Blues, “Late Lament.” Consistent with using good judgment and common sense, we remember the lyric in this Moody Blues’ classic, “But we decide which is right, and which is an illusion.”

How about you? Are there songs that remind you of certain times in your life? Do those songs resonate with you today based on the world we are living in? There are so many great classics from yesteryear that are just so relevant today and I would love to hear your favorites at And when we can work our way through the grand illusion and the land of confusion, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

Michael Norton


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