Reality is overrated
You’ve got to be realistic, goes the mantra.
Your Mum, your friends, your peers keep giving you this unsolicited advice every time you try to fly high, on those days when you think the world is your oyster and there is no limit to what you can achieve.
They try to talk you out of your grand ideas because they want to protect you from yourself. Their intentions are good and consistent with their scripts.
We’ve all been brought up to play safe, to be a cog in the wheel, and to avoid risk.
But there is a problem with this:
It’s the fast lane to mediocrity.
Reasons Not to be Realistic
One of the reasons people don’t aim high is because it’s hard, no doubt about it. Becoming a millionaire, a famous artist or a successful entrepreneur is extremely difficult, the odds are against you. Your only chance to make it is to work hard and hope to get a lucky break.
But what about crowded spaces?
When you become reasonable and realistic, you are joining 99.99% of the population and they’ll be competing directly with you for the best spots within that mediocrity — the best jobs, the best degrees, the best locations, the best affordable cars, the best holiday deals- and there is a lot of competition there.
It’s the mediocrity paradox: The more mediocre you are, the more you have to compete for the leftovers.
If you are going to compete, you might as well go for the big prize, not the consolation one.
Would you rather become a bank manager or a rock star?
Often we try to be realistic and then end up abandoning our dreams and settle for a comfortable existence.
We all like to have a steady income, a nice place we can call home and a routine to follow every day at work. But there is a problem with all that, it’s fucking boring!
There is no adventure, no excitement and no motivation. Your heart is not in it and no matter how much you push yourself, you can’t become good at something you hate.
You can’t get motivated with a paycheck no matter how big it is. There is some intrinsic motivation that needs to be there in order for you to feel fulfilled.
To achieve anything worthwhile you need motivation, without it, you won’t be able to live. There is only so much you can deny it, at the end of the day life is not worth living if you lack the motivation.
You must cultivate and pursue whatever makes you tick, just going through the motions won’t cut it. You owe it to yourself and to the world.
The world doesn’t need another accountant, it needs you loving your profession and feeling proud about your work.
‘I just want to be mediocre’ said no one ever.
We all agree that mediocrity is not worth pursuing and yet, most of us end up living this life by default. We just become realistic and accept our destiny.
You never meant to be mediocre, just got sidetracked. Whether it was society, fear, circumstances or the feeling of overwhelm, at some point you gave up and settle for an easy life, then lied to yourself about it so you can live with it.
Our minds are an efficient self-defense mechanism, we create backfitting narratives so we can keep living in denial. But every now and again that thick curtain that protects our ego produces a little crack through which we can see a glimpse of what could have been — a long list of all the regrets and missed opportunities that’ll never return.
Mediocrity is not what you want, no matter how often you tell yourself. Escape from the golden cuffs and you’ll never regret it.
Life is not a limitless pursue, there are some barriers we’ll never be able to cross no matter how hard we try. However, most limits are self-imposed. Every time you tell yourself you can’t, what you mean is ‘I can but I’m scared to try’
Your ego is an expert at creating an alternative reality in which most things are out of reach when in fact most things are available if you are prepared to pay the price. No talent, no skills, and no money are prerequisites, just the burning desire to succeed, the determination to stay the course, and the belief in yourself.
Reasons to be realistic
For years, it seemed impossible to break the 1-mile barrier under 4 mins. Many experts agreed on how such a feat was impossible for the human body.
That was until Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mark. When asked why he attempted such an insane endeavor he replied: ‘Because nobody told me it was impossible’
After his feat, more than 1,400 athletes followed through and run it below 4 mins.
If nobody had done it before was because they thought it was unachievable. Once a limit is accepted, there is no trying. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
By breaking that mental barrier, Bannister became a role model for all the other athletes who suddenly had no reason to believe in such a limitation. If one can, everybody can.
So, if nothing else, by being unrealistic you can be an inspiration to others showing them that most barriers are just imaginary.
Ego is the enemy
All your fears, limitations, and insecurities come from your ego trying to protect you from failure but in fact, is blocking you from success.
The ego is a big barrier to a fulfilling life and the more you cave into it the stronger it becomes. That’s why you must defeat it as soon and as much as possible so it shrinks. To do that the best practice is to feel the fear and do it anyway
Breaking the limits imposed from your ego will set you free, just for that reason is worth pursuing the impossible.
What if you had pursued that dream, girl, career when you were younger?
We all have regrets but mostly we regret what we haven’t done. When you take action at least you can say I tried. If you don’t even try, because it’s out of your league, you’ll never forgive yourself.
That girl/guy you should have asked out
That career you should at least tried
That project that never saw the light
That idea lost in oblivion
Apply the Regret Minimization Framework to avoid those feelings in the future. Ask yourself: ‘if I don’t pursue this, will I regret it in a few years?
To do this you have to become unrealistic and pursue your dreams however impossible.
Comfort is the safest way for an unhappy life.
When you become realistic you get the consolation prize: comfort
An easy life with a nice car, a secure job, a decent house, and hours on end on the sofa watching garbage.
We are designed to look for comfort and yet comfort is the worst thing that can happen to us.
Nothing worthwhile was ever achieved through comfort. Happiness and comfort are the exact opposite.
We are made to strive, to fight, and to endure challenges. We need the effort, the difficulties, and the struggle, take that away and we become vegetables.
A lot of people commit suicide or just die the moment they retire. All of a sudden their lives become too easy and meaningless.
Run away from comfort now and never look back.
Being realistic is a scam, You are better off with unrealistic expectations.
We don’t really know what reality is, so why make up a boring, limiting, reasonable scenario. Since you are constructing reality as we speak, you might as well dream big instead of small.
Imagination is more powerful than knowledge because is limitless.
Of course, not everything you imagine is possible but why don’t you just try and find out for yourself?
Don’t limit yourself. Be unrealistic. The world we live in is made by crazy people that decided to push the boundaries of reality. Be one of them.