Realistic Thinking

Realistic Thinking

It's true; it can be a challenge, and sometimes it feels more often than not like it is. Some days we are like ‘wtf!?!’ ‘why me?’ ‘How the hell am I going to get through this? get this report done… make my partner happy… is this the right job… relationship… friendship’ ‘have I wasted my life… am I going to waste my life’ ‘Do I have what it takes?’ and the big one ‘Why am I here; there must be more to life’.

The good news – all of us, and I mean even your most confident, outgoing, self-believing friend, colleague, teammate, they all, we all experience episodes of self-doubt. Guess what, it’s totally okay! And the answer to dealing with it, I don’t believe comes from a positive attitude. To me, this mantra of having a positive attitude to get through anything is misguided. Why? Do you just want to ‘get through’ life? I want to flourish, grow, smile, excel, and be the best I can. Imagine if life was an exam (and it isn’t, by the way), but if it was, do you want to be judged at the gates of eternity and be given a P – Pass? ‘Hi, sir/ma’am, welcome to eternity; we reflect on your 80 years of contribution to the living world; we can see you ‘just got through,’ so we award you a Pass.’

No – I don’t want to just get through anything. And I believe the real risk of a positive attitude alone is the risk of just getting through. So how do we excel? How do we deal with all the crap life throws at us and not just thrive but achieve everything we want, experience constant positive personal growth, and be awarded a High Distinction, no Honors for our life and the contribution we made. Realistic Thinking!

The first part of realistic thinking – bad shit is going to happen in life. We are going to be blamed for things, that we played no part in their failure. We will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We will make fail-safe plans that ultimately fail. We will miss promotions, lose people who mean something to us, lose jobs, lose money – and through it all, the clock will keep ticking, and time will keep moving forward.

The second part of realistic thinking – accountability and responsibility. What truly was my contribution to this fuck up? I believe this is the single hardest part for any human to reflect on; it's an admission we made a mistake. Maybe we didn’t know something as well as we thought we did, that we have let someone or something down, that we hurt someone, that guess what – we are not perfect! And here is something we all MUST remember - I don’t care who you are; you, me, or the Pope – NO ONE IS PERFECT.

The third part of realistic thinking – truthful assessment. What went wrong, what did I do wrong? By acknowledging there was an error and taking accountability and responsibility for our contribution to the error, it is only then we can start to ask the most important question – WHY! Some would argue the why is a waste of time. It's spending time looking backward, and we should only look forward. If that was the only way, invention wouldn’t exist. Success only happens when there is accountable reflection and discretion of the failure. Pinpointing the weak link in the approach that caused a series of knock-on effects that ultimately lead to the real outcome of a situation being different from that which was assumed.

The final part of this approach – change. When I mean change, I mean everything from a simple change like saying ‘hi’ in the morning to the person working next to you all the way through to deep soul-searching, who am I, who do I want to be and what do I need to do to get there type change. Personal change, leading to personal growth and emotional quotient improvement – to me, this type of growth is life-changing in the most powerful and positive way.

Taking this approach to life, in my experience, is unquestionably confronting. No one wants to accept that you missed that job opportunity because you weren’t good enough, you got dumped because you didn’t deliver, you couldn’t pay the rent because you spent too much that month – life is so much easier blaming someone else. Being easier is a mirage that delivers fake happiness and no true connections. After all, if you aren’t being truthful to yourself, how can you have truthful relationships of any kind?

Realistic thinking, it’s something that I haven’t heard of before. It’s something I have been using for the last year, and the change in my life is immeasurable. The clarity that I see myself, my immediate moments, and the way forward toward my purpose is nothing like I have experienced in my entire life. My journey living in the present, connecting on truth, and truly defining what my purpose in life is has only just begun. When I stand to be judged, as I enter eternity, I never want to hear ‘well done Mike, you just got through.’
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