It seems like whenever you're really beginning to vibe with a bold idea there's someone around to popup and shout, "C'mon, be realistic!"
In school this was particularly frustrating because 'real' in such a self-contained world is whatever who's in authority makes it to be. When people say "Be realistic!" generally what they really mean is, "Do this some way that I am comfortable with!"
Time and time again I've experienced that doing what seems realistic to others is a poor way to achieve what's meaningful to me and that doing so drastically reduces the potential of my work, life and happiness.
Recently, I think I've stumbled across some logic that helps explain why this is.
Reality is Brief
This is the question that changed my understanding of what realistic means:
"Is the future real?"
Perhaps some experimental quantum physics could convince me that from the right perspective with the right equations and the right flux capacitors, the future is real but, practically speaking it isn't. The future does not exist within the reality defined around us.
To be realistic is to express things as they truly are. But, the future, truly, isn't. Not yet.
To make decisions with future ramifications based on reality is extraordinarily and unnecessarily limiting.
Being realistic is the best way to interpret nothing besides this very moment - the only moment that is in fact real.
"Am I Willing to Make that My Reality?"
When you come to grips with the fact that the future isn't real you realize that you have a hand in defining it. You're responsible for those future realities.
When scheming up a big plan, try replacing the head in your voice saying "Is this realistic?" with "What would need to happen for me to get there? Am I willing to do what I would need to do?"
Whether you respond yes or no is fine because it's in your control and up to you. But, if you answer yes, that's all you need to know to get started.
Reality is a clumsy and uninspired sculptor. If we let it mold the long-term vision of ourselves, we won't come out from the kiln of our struggles quite as we'd hoped.
The role for reality is to help lead the actions that we take in this moment to move towards where we want to be.
The vision for what exactly that is is best when coming from a different place entirely.
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