Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity. – Will Smith
What does that mean?
That’s quite a slap in the face, isn’t it? Being real has just been equated with mediocrity, with not really doing much or making much of a difference. But is it true?
I found this quote interesting, because after a few moments of thought I believed it to be true. Now I’ll try to explain it and convince you as well.
Why would the phrase ‘being realistic’ pre-destine you to a life of mediocrity? What would Thomas Edison or Nicola Tesla invented if they had decided to be realistic instead of pursuing their dream? What about Rockefeller, Morgan, or Getty? Where would they be if they had been realistic?
Greatness, being the antithesis of mediocrity, comes from daring to think great thoughts and take great risks. In short, to be great, you pretty much have to throw being realistic right out the window, and get crazy. What do you think, now that I’ve laid out my position. Do you agree?
Why is daring great things important?
Where would the modern world be if people had been realistic? A realistic projection was that there was a market for a few computers. Worldwide. Oh, and eventually, they’d be down to about a ton and a half in weight. For something that wasn’t as smart as a dumb phone.
That was a ‘realistic’ projection in the early 50’s. But those silly, unrealistic people kept defying mediocrity and inventing things. First came transistors, then better passive components, smaller parts, all the while using less power.
What about the car? Was it realistic to attach a steam engine, a battery powered motor, or even an infernal combustion engine to a buggy and expect it not to kill you? Yet today, we have cars that are far safer, much faster and immeasurably more fun to drive than a horse carriage.
Where can I apply this in my life?
I didn’t get to the Wright brothers, and all the crazy contraptions that lead up to the Kitty Hawk flight. The call to mediocrity has existed through the ages. No matter the time, there were people telling us to slow down and be realistic about what we were doing.
You’ve heard it in your lifetime, perhaps even directed at you, right? Yet somehow, a few people break out and go past the edge of reality and pursue transforming their dreams into reality. But why does that always seem to happen, why do they always want to hold people down?
Part of it, I would imagine, is conformity. How great would you feel if your mediocrity was rubbed in your face by someone who was really making things happen? Would you be tempted to tell them to quit being so flashy and be a little more realistic?
Well, probably not you. You’d congratulate them on a job well done. But that person over there, or the one down the block. They couldn’t handle someone doing something big, something great. Someone making their dreams come true would point out just how mediocre their lives were. And that wouldn’t be nice.
Yet humanity moves forward on the backs of the people who are willing to brave the scorn and laughter of others, as they pursue their unrealistic ideas, ideals, and goals. There are people willing to put it all on the line, and there are people willing to tell them to quit being unrealistic.
Which of those people are you going to be? Which have you been in the past? Most of us have been both, at differing points in our lives. But I’d bet that most of us lived a life of quiet mediocrity for a greater portion of our lives. Why is that? It’s easier, it’s safer, and no one makes fun of you.
Consider some examples from the prior two centuries. Give women the right to vote? Be realistic! Free the slaves? Be realistic! I’m sure both those things were said, at different points in time, in countries all around the world. How much easier would it have been to be realistic, as opposed to being an unrealistic idealist?
Where would the world be if Gandhi had decided to be realistic in dealing with the British? What if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs had decided to be realistic about those computers and all that they could do? Where would we be if President Kennedy had been realistic and said we should put a man on the moon sometime in the next half century?
While attempting to ignore reality can be painful at time, there is a fine line between that which is not presently possible and what conventional wisdom (more often, the complete lack thereof) says can be done. Be willing to take a little risk every now and then.
Not everyone is going to invent something new and world changing. But that doesn’t mean you have to be mediocre. Get busy and do something wonderful for someone, even if that someone is you. After all, you have to start somewhere, don’t you?
From: Twitter, @tonyrobbins
confirmed at : http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/268498-being-realistic-is-the-most-common-path-to-mediocrity
Photo by AdamKR