Watch out for Reality Checkers

Below is Secret #75 from the book 101 Secrets for your Twenties by Paul Angone

Reality Checkers are everywhere.

And they love dishing out doses of reality like they’re a doctor and this is the prescription you need.

You know the kind.

Where you share with them your Everest-Sized Dream and before you can even finish they rattle off the seven reasons your dream won’t work. Reality Checkers lather you in their own fear and insecurities, and call it sound advice.

God bless them, they’re just trying to give you a dose of reality to save you the pain of making a mistake, or so they say.

Well yes, God bless them–because sometimes the only things worth pursuing are the things way beyond what we’re capable of. Where it’s 100 percent guaranteed we’ll make Hummer-sized mistakes to make anything happen.

I’m not saying don’t take advice. Sure, sometimes we need some plain good sense. Sometimes we need that wild old sage to get all sage-like on us.

But that’s not Reality Checkers game. No, you’ll know you’ve been Reality Checked when you leave the conversation feeling like you’ve been slammed against the boards by a 250-pound Russian hockey player named Pavel.

Instead of Pavel the Reality Checker, give me the person who’s going to take in all the insurmountable facts of my dream and tell me, “That’s awesome. Heck, I say you go for it! What do you have to lose?”

Nothing. You have nothing to lose. Reality Checkers want you to believe that your plans will fail. And you know what, they’re probably right.

But the point of life is NOT to not fail.

Reality Checkers want you to believe that failure is death, but it’s not.

In-action based on fear, the possibility for embarrassment, and the all-encompassing “what if,”  leads to death–a long, slow demise where you make as much of a wake as a dried up leaf falling into a puddle of water.

We must be willing to try for Everest-sized dreams, and we must be careful who we tell about it at first.

Be strategic who you tell about your Everest.

If you tell everyone your big dream in order for them to affirm it, your dream will be crushed way before you reach your Everest.

You need to plant the idea of a big dream in soil where there is room to grow.

Because maybe a dose of someone else’s reality is the last thing you need. Maybe you need to take a heaping spoonful of a truer reality based on the dreams and vision inside of you.

Maybe where you’re headed is more important than where you’re at.

Reality is what you decide reality is. If reality is a scarce, dismal place where opportunities go to die, well get ready to spend a lifetime watching sweet opportunities take their last breath.

If reality is this crazy abundant place of opportunities galore where you’re walking through an exotic orchard of hybrid Plum-Mango-Strawberry Trees with this Giant Juicy Fruit just waiting to be picked (even though in reality such a tree doesn’t exist), then by golly, you’re going to be eating opportunities by the mouthful.

Maybe reality is really a choice each of us makes: which reality is going to be more real?

I’m taking bites from plum-mango-strawberry trees on top of Everest.

I’m done getting reality checked to death.

Who’s with me?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below:

Have you ever felt like you were reality checked to death? What’s one big dream you’d like to see come back to life?


Paul-Angone-All-Groan-Up

About Paul

Paul Angone is the creator of AllGroanUp.com and the author of 101 Secrets for your Twenties. Snag a free sneak peak of 101 Secrets for your Twenties here and buy the book.

 

13 comments

Categories: CareerPaul

  • Christopher Sell

    Great inspiration for today (and tomorrow). Paul and Jenny – I really appreciate both of you, I think you’re all-star thought leaders for twenty-somethings looking to make meaning of the world around them. Great job! ~ Chris

    • http://www.allgroanup.com/ Paul Angone – All Groan Up

      Thank you Christopher for the encouragement. Much, much appreciated.

  • Christopher Sell

    And to answer your question, I’ve absolutely felt reality checked when talking about big dreams. I’d love to write a book, but it’s quite common for ‘reality checkers’ to point out why it probably won’t be that successful or it’s going to be way more difficult than I expect. Sometimes, I just want to find people who help me plant the idea of a dream and nurture it.

    • http://www.allgroanup.com/ Paul Angone – All Groan Up

      Oh man, do I know this “reality” all too well. And from someone who it took seven years to see a book finally happen, I was reality checked many times along the way, which I know artificially delayed the process even longer for me. It’s definitely a hard-earned skill to take the right advice, and leave the wrong.

  • http://www.akirahrobinson.com/ Akirah Robinson

    Oh gosh yes. I remember telling a friend of mine that I want to write and speak to young women about relationship abuse and she told me that maybe I should just volunteer at an agency that already does that. I know she meant well, but I don’t think she quite understands the dream I’m salivating over. After getting over the initial feeling of silliness, stupidity, and regret, I’ve been putting myself out there, knowing that each step I take will eventually lead to something that sticks. I’m headed to Everest!

    • http://www.allgroanup.com/ Paul Angone – All Groan Up

      Amazing! Thanks Akirah for your sharing your story. Yes, the thing with Reality Checkers is usually they do mean well and their advice sometimes isn’t bad per-say in itself. They just can’t see the reality that’s being created inside you – a powerful image you’re seeing of who you are, even if in “reality” you’re not quite there yet.

  • Jim Blake

    This is a VERY important idea Paul. A crucial idea for anyone developing their dream ( and what smart person isn’t working on their big dream?) My secret: I have already achieved my dream – it lives deep inside of me every day, all day long and when I sleep. Nothing can kill it, nothing can even hurt it and everything – all experience is employed to help it grow. ( maybe my dream is a gnarly alien beast-unkillable / indestructable and due in a neighborhood near you someday) Perhaps not many in the “real” world touch my big dream right now ( it’s still a stinky adolescent and smells like teen spirit) but it is rock solid in my heart and mind.

    I like to use the example of Michaelangelo who, when looking at a 20 ton block of marble could fully envision the “Pieta” or “David” He chipped away at his big, clumsy blocks until these masterpieces were revealed – they were always inside the blocks of stone. We dreamers hack away at our perceived blocks of stone all day every day – every action and every word removes another chip. Assign “Reality Checkers” work sweeping up your marble chips ( every time they open their mouths more chips gets swept up) – when your dream is achieved they can say they took part in its realization.

    As for being careful with your dream – a good idea in principle but also good to let your dream take a few hits just to toughen it up. Think of the advantages that accrue to children who play outdoors in the dirt where their immune systems can encounter all sorts of nasty bacteria and get strong for the battles fought. On a final note – your dream, when realized, will have balance and fine proportion and it will be a thing of beauty whether it is an object or a process or a talent. Proportion and balance and beauty must be studied in the real world in order for them to inform your dream.

    • http://www.allgroanup.com/ Paul Angone – All Groan Up

      Wow Jim amazing thoughts as always.

      I especially love the truth and wisdom of this line —

      “My secret: I have already achieved my dream – it lives deep inside of
      me every day, all day long and when I sleep. Nothing can kill it.”

      Yes we have to see our dreams as physical realities and keep it “rock solid in our hearts and minds” as you wrote. Our future is now, even if it’s not here yet.

      Jim, I think for your next book you could compile comments you’ve left on articles and you would already have more amazing fodder than 99% of authors.

  • Morgan Bolender

    Two things:

    1) The flavor for juicy fruit gum was actually taken from HUGE fruit called “Jack fruit.” It is DELICIOUS. And very sticky.

    2) This is a great article. I love it. The hockey player thing – yes. I recently spent a bit of time at both my mom and my dad’s house, and had to leave quickly before the quicksand of doubt enveloped me.

    I made it out. I am still going and believing.

    I have a blog called The Unraveling: Experiments in Fearlessness, that i think you and your readers will love.

    It starts with me quitting everything and moving to an organic farm in the jungle nearly 4 years ago, and continues as I travel around the world, committing to doing only the things that feel nourishing and expansive. It’s been pretty interesting. It’s been extremely, extremely interesting.

    Thanks for doing what you’re doing. I’m excited to share it.

  • Morgan Bolender

    Two things:

    1) The flavor for juicy fruit gum was actually taken from a HUGE fruit called “Jack fruit.” It is DELICIOUS. And very sticky.

    2) This is a great article. I love it. The hockey player thing – yes. I recently spent a bit of time at both my mom and my dad’s houses, and had to leave quickly before the quicksand of doubt enveloped me.

    It was close. I made it out. I am still going and believing.

    I have a blog called The Unraveling: Experiments in Fearlessness, that i think you and your readers will love.

    It starts with me quitting everything and moving to an organic farm in the jungle nearly 4 years ago, and continues as I travel around the world, committing to doing only the things that feel nourishing and expansive. It’s been pretty interesting. It’s been extremely, extremely interesting.

    Thanks for doing what you’re doing. I’m excited to share it. Love.

    • michaele

      How do you pay to travel for four years?

      • michaele

        I would like to do the same…but I could only afford a few months…and that’s with couch surfing/hitching etc, on the cheap.

  • Adil Safir

    I come from a maths specialized family, meaning my dad studied phd maths and my 4 brothers studied either computer science or a form of engineering. As the fifth and youngest brother in a strict Muslim family It was difficult to tell my family that i wanted to be a tailor on Savile Row, some assumed i was homosexual others said it didnt suit my personality as ive practiced martial arts for the past seven years and that i should join the army. I wanted to do something creative rather than just destroying as my life needed balance, but also relished the possibilities of creating characters or personas through dress then, to eventually allow others the choice to share the vision through an affordable fashion retail brand. My mother told me “take your fashion and get out of this house”.

    I started a talioring course despite strong opposition from my house and my cousins (another group of 5 brothers that live round the corner), everyday was made a living hell, i knew that it would take 2 hours to get there and by the time i got home my mother was waiting to say “it was you who chose this fashion design course” “your becoming a khusra (hermaphrodite)” “get upstairs i dont want to see your face”. That topped with the fact that i was taking government benefits to pay for the course meaning i had to attend meetings that they purposely made clash with many of my lessons and if i didnt go to these meetings they would cancel the payment and i would be in debt to pay for the course.

    Although the teachers at the course were very helpful and i caught up with a lot of work i ran out of time to complete my work and failed the course, and although my mother still uses that as an example of why i never should have chosen tailoring i decided to start the course again but this time with my dads financial help to i can pay for travel, a full equipment set, and the course. I’ve enrolled and I’m starting this September. Wish me luck!

    Adil

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