by Mary Jaksch
Do you want to dream big AND actually achieve your goals?
The mind-set of positive realism may be the answer.
Being positive and being realistic are two ends of the mindset spectrum. I’m sure you’ve experienced that when optimists and realists discuss a project, there is often a clash of perspective. The optimist is a visionary and focuses on the end goal. The realist is skeptical – and sometimes downright negative – because his or her focus is on the steps along the way, not on the end goal.
Which are you – an optimist or a realist?
Often we flip-flop from one mode to the other. When we’re feeling happy we tend to think about the future in a positive way. When things go wrong, we tend to forget about positive thinking and focus on the problems of the present moment.
It’s sometimes difficult to decide which response is optimistic, realistic, or downright negative. For example, I recently read an interesting article by Clay Collins, called Why The Job-ification of Your Passion Can be the Ticket to Hating Your Life. Clay says:
There is this insane myth in our culture that if you do what you loves, the money will naturally follows. It’s one of those deceptive half-truths that often lead to humiliation.
‘If you do what you love, the money will naturally follow’ is an optimistic statement. Whereas ‘This half-truth often leads to humiliation’ is a pessimistic view of life. However, neither view is necessarily realistic.
Let’s take a look at how to add the ingredient of realism to a positive outlook, in order to boost your chance of success.
- To be positive means using the power of hope to effect change.
- Being a realist means living life as it really is, facing the difficulties as well as fully enjoying life.
Joined together they make up the art of positive realism.
If we adopt the power of positive realism, we use the power of hope. Some call this power the ‘law of attraction’. John Assaraf says in the book ‘The Secret’:
Our job as humans is to hold on to the thoughts of what we want, make it absolutely clear in our minds what we want, and from that we start to invoke one of the greatest laws in the Universe, and that’s the law of attraction. You become what you think about most, but you also attract what you think about most.
This means that our dreams and hopes can manifest as reality if only we focus on them strongly enough.
However, blind faith also has its limitations. For example, if you say to yourself over and over, “I can fly! I can fly!” and then jump off the roof to test the law of attraction, you might be disappointed in the result!
Faith combined with realism is the winning ticket for success.
Let’s take a look at what realism is and what it has to offer. Realism means living in the present moment, and not in dreams of the future, or in stories of the past. It means facing difficulties without denial, as well as fully enjoying the beauty of each moment.
The attitude of positive realism combines both the visionary view, as well as a realistic mode of thinking.
The key aspect of positive realism is that we dream big – but then set realistic goals.
Let’s get back to our example. The saying ‘If you do what you love, the money will naturally follow’ is a big dream. But this dream may not materialize. Why?
A dream lacks traction if it’s not paired with realistic goals.
Think of the saying in terms of the law of attraction. ‘If you do what you love, the money will naturally follow’ implies that money will appear naturally from our actions – so we don’t need to focus on it.
According to the law of attraction, the key is to focus on what we want, in order to manifest it. It follows that you’ll only earn a living doing what you love if you actually focus on making money and don’t just expect it to happen ‘naturally’.
Now let’s use positive realism as our mode of thinking. The positive realist would say, ‘Do what you like, and the money will follow -providing you take the following steps.’
The positive realist comes up with a set of goals to ensure that they will hit the grand goal.
If we dream big and then set realistic goals, there is nothing we can’t achieve.