Obstacle Busting: Being Realistic

Being Realistic

For those of you dropping realism bombs on your dreams before they get a chance to get off the ground…

Ugh. Realistic. One of my least favourite words in the world. Because what is “realistic”? Is flight realistic? Electricity? The internet? Brain surgery? Space travel? A black man becoming president in apartheid South Africa? A 17 year old schoolgirl winning a Nobel peace prize after getting shot in the head by the Taliban? A book about a teenage wizard selling 450 million copies? Realism is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a concept, not a fact. Many people have done unrealistic things.

And this is why this word annoys me so much – it stops innovation, creativity and dreaming in their tracks, because of a belief, a thought, an opinion. And that opinion may or may not be right. It is true that depending on your circumstances, you may find it harder to do something – but it’s still possible. Realism, schmealism. So let yourself dream, and dream big. Allow yourself to want what you want.

Who cares if what you want is ‘realistic’? It’s what you want. Your heart’s desires come to you for a reason. Not to torment you with an ‘unrealistic’ idea that will leave you disappointed and broken, but to tempt you into a new world of possibility and growth. Your visions will take you down paths you never dreamed, where you’ll find qualities you didn’t know you possessed…and maybe you’ll find gold at the end of the rainbow.

Forget whether it’s realistic or not – is it possible? Is it doable? Is it conceivable? And are you up for the challenge? Because it may well be a tough, long road…but the great thing is that the tough, long road of dream following is so much fun. Yes, it’s challenging, yes, sometimes it’s hard and it hurts and it stretches you and drags you out of your comfort zone…but it’s also wonderful and exciting and a joyous dance of dream chasing.

And it’s true that sometimes that joyous dance can land us on our arse with a bang, when a dose of reality hits. Sometimes it’s not a case of ‘build it and they will come’; ‘write it and it will sell 400 million copies’; or ‘sing and be the next Adele’. If your dream is a big one, some of it may well be out of your control.

You do the best you can with what you have and keep taking the action that’s yours to take. Take your opportunities, work towards what you want, keep moving forward…and see what happens. And if other people keep dropping the realism bomb in your lap, maybe it’s time to re-consider what you share with them? Dreamers live in a world of possibility and wonder…but not everyone does, so why invite them to upset your apple-cart or freak them out if you don’t need to?

I know you want to be able to share your dreams, but don’t share them with people who can’t cope with them or who have a tendency to stamp on them. Share them with other dreamers, other people who believe in more than they can see, other optimists, other seekers. Just as you don’t talk sex with your parents, or football with friends who know nothing about football; share your dreams with those who ‘get it’, or are able to support you even when they don’t get it.
You can still share with your loved ones even if they’re realism-bombers; but share in a way that invites them to support you, not bring you down. Tell them what you’ve done so far, what you’ll do next…but not necessarily the world-spanning empire you dream of if you know their minds will be blown by that. Honour yourself, your dreams, and your loved ones tendencies. Once you are starting to take over the world, they’ll come round!

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