“The word “realist” often comes with some negative connotations. Realists, according to conventional wisdom, can be practical to a fault; they often lack a feel for the finer, higher things in life. Taken too far, such types can be cynical, manipulative, Machiavellian.
They stand in contrast to dreamers, people of high imagination who inspire us with their ideals or divert us with their fantastical creations. This is a concept that comes from looking at the world through the lens of fear. It is time we reverse this perspective and see dreamers and realists in their true light. The dreamers, those who misread the actual state of affairs and act upon their emotions, are often the source of the greatest mistakes in history—the wars that are not thought out, the disasters that are not foreseen.
Realists, on the other hand, are the real inventors and innovators. They are men and women of imagination, but their imagination is in close contact with the environment, with reality—they are empirical scientists, writers with a sharp understanding of human nature, or leaders who guide us thoughtfully through crises. They are strong enough to see the world as it is, including their own personal inadequacies.”
-Robert Greene and 50 Cent, The 50th Law
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of optimism. It’s a complex, uncaring world we inhabit, and a bit of positivity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The danger comes in oversimplifying things, in giving everyone a trophy, in obfuscating the truth – and ultimately, in deluding ourselves and those around us.
In order to start, we’ve got to be honest with ourselves. What tools do we have at our disposal – now? How willing are you to graft – now, in this moment?
Realism requires strength. It requires acceptance of what is.
Are you strong enough?