Saturday, 27 June 2015

Realism is the rule of thumb for sustained personal growth

Most business books revolve around a single idea that is presented from different angles. The same goes for many scientific essays, which tend to be longer, but contain few new ideas. Occasionally, hundreds of pages will be devoted to justifying points which readers might find self-evident.

A call for realism

Darwin's volume on the origin of species was the result of ten years of study and reflection. He actually wrote several outlines before he got down to drafting the book itself. The text, which you will need hours to read, contains dozens of elaborate descriptions and examples. Nonetheless, the message of the book can be summarized on a single page.

Yet, my point is not about the importance of brevity, but of realism. There is a reason why apparently simple ideas require a long exposition. Authors of those books are, for the most part, neither foolish nor focused on selling overblown banalities. Certainly, that was not the case of Charles Darwin.

Don't ignore the truth


A high dose of realism is the rationale for the extensive treatment of subjects. On the same grounds, engineers take safety margins when they design a new bridge, a ship, or an aeroplane. The truth known by every conscientious professional is that failure lurks around every corner. For sculptors, poets, and performers of all sorts, failure is called rejection. If you try to ignore the statistical truth, you will create plenty of stress, anxiety, worry, and depression for yourself.

Romantic movies paint situations where chance aligns all factors for success. A happy end ensues as protagonists collect their dues without effort and against all odds. Fiction of the worst kind renders credibility to fantasy, leading readers to feel dejected by reality and disappointed by life. This is something that you want to avoid.

You will much better off if you face obstacles using reason and experience as your allies. This is what skilled entrepreneurs do. Whether you take up playing golf or acting, you'd better prepare yourself for strenuous practice and open criticism.


The two elements you need

In difficult undertakings, your efforts might remain only moderately effective for an extended period of time and rightly so. Even if you are trying to communicate straightforward truths, you should beware of the fact that even simple ideas are going to be misunderstood by many people. TV advertisers address their commercials to millions of people, knowing that the great majority are not going to buy their products.

The rule of thumb for personal growth is that most things won't work, and that most attempts won't result in success. Rejection and miscommunication are not exceptions, but everyday events. Face negative results, and use wisdom to deal with them. Great ambitions are never easily accomplished. Achieving them requires effort and patience. Those are the two elements you need. Take both of them, and move on.


Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

Image by Duchamp under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us



For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books

Rationality is the Way to Happiness

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