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How to Use the Art of Positive Realism for Maximum Success

How to Use the Art of Positive Realism for Maximum Success

Positive Realism

    Do you want to dream big AND actually achieve your goals?

    The mindset of positive realism may be the answer.

    Being positive and being realistic are two ends of the mindset spectrum. I’m sure you’ve experienced that when optimists and realists discuss a project, there is often a clash of perspective. The optimist is a visionary and focuses on the end goal. The realist is skeptical – and sometimes downright negative – because his or her focus is on the steps along theway, not on the end goal.

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    Which are you – an optimist or a realist?

    Often we flip-flop from one mode to the other. When we’re feeling happy we tend to think about the future in a positive way. When things go wrong, we tend to forget about positive thinking and focus on the problems of the present moment.

    It’s sometimes difficult to decide which response is optimistic, realistic, or downright negative. For example,  I recently read an interesting article by Clay Collins, called Why The Job-ification of Your Passion Can be the Ticket to Hating Your Life. Clay says:

    There is this insane myth in our culture that if you do what you love, the money will naturally follow. It’s one of those deceptive half truths that often leads to humiliation.

    ‘If you do what you love, the money will naturally follow’ is an optimistic statement. Whereas ‘This half truth often leads to humiliation’ is a pessimistic view of life. However, neither view is necessarily realistic.

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    Let’s take a look at how to add the ingredient of realism to a positive outlook, in order to boost your chance of success.

    • To be positive means using the power of hope to effect change.
    • Being a realist means living life as it really is, facing the difficulties as well as fully enjoying life.

    Joined together they make up the art of positive realism.

    If we adopt the power of positive realism, we use the power of hope. Some call this power the ‘law of attraction’. John Assaraf says in the book ‘The Secret’:

    Our job as humans is to hold on to the thoughts of what we want, make it absolutely clear in our minds what we want, and from that we start to invoke one of the greatest laws in the Universe, and that’s the law of attraction. You become what you think about most, but you also attract what you think about most.

    This means that our dreams and hopes can manifest as reality if only we focus on them strongly enough.

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    However, blind faith also has its limitations. For example, if you say to yourself over and over, “I can fly! I can fly!” and then jump off the roof to test the law of attraction, you might be disappointed in the result!

    Faith combined with realism is the winning ticket for success.

    Let’s take a look at what realism is and what it has to offer. Realism means living in the present moment, and not in dreams of the future, or in stories of the past. It means facing difficulties without denial, as well as fully enjoying the beauty of each moment.

    The attitude of positive realism combines both the visionary view,  as well as a realistic mode of thinking.

    The key aspect of positive realism is that we dream big – but then set realistic goals.

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    Let’s get back to our example. The saying ‘If you do what you love, the money will naturally follow’ is a big dream. But this dream may not materialize. Why?

    A dream lacks traction if it’s not paired with realistic goals.

    Think of the saying in terms of the law of attraction. ‘If you do what you love, the money will naturally follow’ implies that money will appear naturally from our actions – so we don’t need to focus on it.

    According to the law of attraction, the key is to focus on what we want, in order to manifest it. It follows that you’ll only earn a living doing what you love if you actually focus on making money and don’t just expect it to happen ‘naturally’.

    Now let’s use positive realism as our mode of thinking. The positive realist would say, ‘Do what you like, and the money will follow -providing you take the following steps.’

    The positive realist comes up with a set of goals to ensure that they will hit the grand goal.

    If we dream big and then set realistic goals, there is nothing we can’t achieve.

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    Last Updated on October 20, 2020

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

    More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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