Reality is not built on the basis of magic. Placing your trust on luck leads to overconfidence and does not increase your chances of success. Exaggerated expectations, instead of motivating individuals, paralyse their initiatives. An all-consuming desire to turn around immediately one's situation can lead to foolish actions.
How irrationality generates stress, anxiety, and depression
man who has been diagnosed with cancer will only inflict unnecessary
suffering on himself if he compares his physical condition with that of
an Olympic athlete. The stronger his hope to find a miraculous fix for
his sickness, the deeper his anxiety. His conviction that short-term
radical improvement is possible will intensify his disappointment when a
solution fails to materialize.
The belief in short-term radical improvement seems
to be deeply anchored in human psychology. Our ancestors that hunted
wild animals resorted to magic incantations to turn spirits in their
favour. The sale of amulets and talismans in the Middle Ages fed on
similar cognitive distortions.
Ignoring reality never works and can only lead to disaster
The sick want to heal without
delay and the poor want to attain wealth overnight. Victims listen
avidly to stories about secret recipes that grant men supernatural
powers. Dreams of immediate achievement are predicated and encouraged.
Demanding the impossible becomes a trend and people wrongly turn
adversity into a claim.
Such approach does not work because it
clashes head-on against reality. The world is ruled by the law of cause
and effect, not by wishful thinking. Demanding short-term radical
improvement can render you ineffective. More often than not, your
actions will result in disappointment instead of improvement.
wise man knows that, in times of adversity, stability is the first step
towards a better life. In medical emergencies, first aid aims at
preventing further injury and maintaining essential bodily functions. In
corporate insolvencies, the goal of financial restructuring is to avoid
bankruptcy and keep a business alive.
On most occasions,
expecting short-term radical improvement is unrealistic and
demoralizing. Those who suffer from life-threatening disease should
focus their efforts, in the first place, on achieving stability and
preventing their condition from deteriorating. The rational way of
moving forward is to take small but steady steps.
The first step to solve severe problems is to achieve stability
If you have
suffered misfortune, you can recover much faster if you discard
unjustified expectations of short-term radical improvement. Let go of
unworkable plans and exaggerated desires because they will only consume
your time and waste your resources. Instead, concentrate on
Work your way through difficulties and
fundamental systems. Take measures to prevent the possibility of
relapse. Build progressively on your accomplishments and preclude the
chance of backsliding. Discard unrealistic hopes and shun hurtful
comparisons. Focus your attention on achieving stability and let your
improvements guide you to the next level.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I
refer you to my book The
10 Principles of Rational
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