At age 17, she was told by her English Literature teacher that she was wasting both her time and his in his “A” level class because in his opinion, “children of African origin can barely speak the English language let alone study it at Advanced level”. He advised her to “be realistic” and study another subject that she can handle. She promised to make him eat his words. When the A level results came, she found that she had obtained a grade B in English Literature, the second highest grade in her class. Today, she is, amongst other things, a published author.
A young man, very conscious of his stammer, embarked on a mission to find a realistic career option for a stutterer – one where he didn’t have to speak with people frequently. Years later, he went into a career in Management Consultancy and has worked for a variety of industry sectors in front line roles interacting with major clients. That “realistic” objective to find a non interactive career for a stutterer had clearly not worked!
Three years after into her coveted career where she was seen as having a bright future ahead of her, she did the unthinkable (at that time) and got married. She and her husband debated on the best time for them to start a family. She suggested that they both waited until a realistic time when both of them would be financially well established and could afford for her to give up work to raise a family – as expected. He agreed that having either a career or kids was indeed realistic but since having both was what they really wanted, they should aim for it. They did. Today, they have grown up children and one of the most popular questions that she is asked by younger professionals of both sexes who are just starting out on their career is how on earth she managed to combine both career and family.
All the above scenarios are not one offs…and are not particularly spectacular. Look closely around you and you will find so many people who have managed to achieve seemingly unrealistic things against unrealistic odds. The chances are that in all of these people you will find a deliberate and stubborn disregard for most things called “realistic”.
In truth, “realistic” is just a label which someone somewhere has decided to put on something…and unfortunately it has stuck. “Realism” is a barrier to prevent people from achieving their dreams.
Yes, there are certain things which are very unrealistic such as the expectation to live forever. But, these are very few and far between. In the main, the difference between what is realistic and what is not is governed by the limitations of your fear.
“Being realistic is the most travelled road to mediocrity” – Will Smith. He should know, for how realistic is it for a teenage rap artist in the 1980’s, with big ears, to dare to imagine that he could develop into one of the most bankable and eloquent film stars of today?
“Being realistic is the most travelled road to mediocrity”.
Dare to dream. Dare to have “unrealistic” ambitious for yourself and dare to start putting in the hard work to make this happen.
A few years ago, something most unrealistic happened in the USA. A black President was elected into the White House! So, why let yourself be burdened and limited by “realism”.
Incidentally, just what is “realistic” these days any way?