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Re-Define Realistic: True Power Series
This is the eighth article in our "True Power" series. If you haven't been following the series, visit TheARTrepreneur.com to read the foundational material on beliefs before continuing.
"Realism" is Often Severely Unrealistic
Often times when you're out there, trying to express your own individual vision, you'll be told that you're not being "realistic", that you need to be more "realistic". "Being "realistic," however, is the biggest con ever perpetrated on the unsuspecting public. What it really means is expect the worst. Being "realistic" teaches you to look outside yourself for goals and aspirations, defined by who knows who. It teaches you to ignore your impulses. It teaches you, in other words, to create problems. What's more, it makes you a coward, whispering, "Don't get your hopes up, or you'll be disappointed."
Let's take a look at what happens when people are "realistic". Meet Steve. Steve has "made it". He has a super-successful job as creative director for a popular television series. He has a big house, a new car, a pretty wife and two healthy children. But Steve has a dirty little secret. Steve wants to be a barber. He keeps the desire to himself because he's afraid his family and friends will think he's a failure for even contemplating the idea of giving up his high paying job. Instead, Steve takes his misery out on his co-workers, he drinks too much, and he tries, through constant distraction, to drown out his true desire.
Then there's Sandra. Sandra is a high school dropout, working retail in a less-than-desirable neighborhood. Sandra loves music but, as her family will tell you, Sandra can't hold a tune: "A howling dog could do a better job." Sandra wants to be a singer more than anything, but she keeps the desire hidden, stuffing it down where it festers. Instead of pursuing her true love, she barks at customers who don't have correct change.
Steve and Sandra believe their desires are unrealistic. Now, many people have given up white collar jobs to work with their hands, and more than a few pop stars can't sing. In truth, Steve and Sandra's desires are not at all unrealistic. In fact, the very impulses are supposed to lead them to fulfilling futures. By following those impulses, Steve and Sandra will feel enriched, vital, and radiate enthusiasm even if it leads them to activities other than those of the original impulse. By hiding their desires, they spread their unhappiness around.
The real question is who is defining "realism" in these situations? There is no one-size-fits-all career or lifestyle. If you can call anything sacred, it would be individuality. No two anything are exactly alike, and this is meant to tell you something. Therefore, no-one but you can know what's right for you, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to pursue your desires even if it means you're the most unrealistic person in the world.
Becoming Unrealistic Exercise (1/2 hour)
In this exercise pretend there are no outside opinions from any source whatsoever - parents, siblings, spouse, friends, T.V., magazines, newspapers, radio, movies, books, internet, etc. It's amazing how many people create careers out of "showing someone they could do it". It's nice that you proved your sixth grade classmate was wrong when he said you were too stupid to become a doctor, but maybe you never wanted to be a doctor. Thus, for this exercise, turn those voices off.
What do you want to do now? Let your mind gravitate to the ideal lifestyle, the rhythm and pursuits that would make life interesting and energetic. Most people will find that their true desires do not come packaged in glamorous wrappings. They will be quite ordinary pursuits. Just make sure here, whatever you do, that you're not being "realistic".
S.C. Giles is a contributing author of the ARTrepreneur E-Zine showcasing the full True Power Series that focuses on proven techniques to accomplish any goal.
The ARTrepreneur offers articles helping artists focus on proven techniques to accomplish any goal. Read More: http://www.theartrepreneur.com
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