Realist could be one of the most uncomfortable yet invaluable assets of any relationship or organization. In the presence of a realist, you must be ready to answer multiple choice questions, produce short essays, long essays, thesis and everything in-between.
If probing makes you uneasy, then it isn’t in your interest hanging out with a realist. They have no patience for abstraction; for them, all that matters is hard, cold facts and figures.
If you consider these traits unnerving, you might also be losing out on the priceless resource of thoroughness, thoughtfulness, orderliness and effectiveness. With a realist around you, you can be sure of honest, point-on assessment, planning, and well-above mediocre execution of any idea or plan.
That said I must be quick to point that one major failing of the realist is in their rigidity, the converse of which I wish to explore with you my dear reader.
I observed with some curiosity the success factors of some of the world’s celebrated people and organizations. Looking at what made them achieve and rise so high, I identified a number of factors. Some of these premises of success include: Integrity, Skill, Determination, Hard work, Perseverance, Networking and Faith. You could think of this as a Check List which juxtaposed against any person or organization you consider successful would conform.
Of all the factors mentioned, one for me stands out, in that I consider it not just fundamental and prerequisite, but in fact sine qua non. Interestingly, I left it off my initial “Check List”. I refer here to the subject of Vision, Dream and for the purpose of this piece; I would prefer the word “FANTASY”. I would be using these words interchangeably with more emphasis on the eastermost.
Usually the word “fantasy” carries with it the negative impression of senseless or thoughtlessness. That is an unfortunate connotation, and I intend to show why.
“Dreams are the seedlings of reality”. – Napoleon Hill
“In dreams no man wears a mask”. – Edward Counsel
“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.” – Edgar Cayce
To begin with, isn’t it remarkable that based on the etymology of the word, its root being the Greek ‘phantasia’ means ‘imagination’? Isn’t it also noteworthy that it is from the same root word that we get words such as ‘fantasia’, ‘fantasize’ and ‘fantastic’?
When do we say someone or something is fantastic? Of course, when such a one or thing excels our conventional estimations or assumptions. We say a person is fantasizing when we think what they are soliloquizing is out of our moderate range. And just to sum it, do you know that fantasia is a form of music which defies convention?
If I may ask then, what is wrong with exploring the unfamiliar? Well, I suppose it has to do with fear, the fear of the unknown. There’s a natural inertia that resists exploration. Human nature is often content with the familiar; the unfamiliar, change and the new is usually unsettling. Ironically though, every celebrated person or thing went this less travelled road.
“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde
I also find a strange deviation in life as far as the subject of fantasy is concerned. Have you noticed for example that as a child all things were possible? Daddy was believed to have the capacity to bring down the stars, and Mum could acquire all things for us? Was it not the reason that as kids we made endless requests each time any of these left the house either for work or shopping – we believed something good for us would accompany their return. A paper in the hands of a child could transform into a kite, boat, cap, plane, puppet etc. The fantasy of childish days made everything possible, didn’t it? Whatever happened to our ‘fantasy’? How did we lose our sense of wonder? Was it life, Maturity or Reality? In my thinking, it must have been a Lie that happened to us. We stopped imagining; we were told it was juvenile and of no consequence.
Let me attempt to help re-read the bearings of our compass. Our imagination is one of our greatest gifts as humans, and it is amazing what an idea can become if followed through.
For example, do you realize that it was Walt Disney’s fantasy of animating otherwise things that has blessed the world with Tom and Jerry and all of the magic of Disney World Entertainment? Hollywood is simply the imagination of men put unto tapes – and if you care to know, that is a multi-million dollar industry. Coming home to the 21st century phenomenon called Social Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, My Space etc – the idea, the dream, and the fantasy of people like Mark Zuckerberg.
That part of us that journey into the exciting worlds of the unknown, all in our minds, is that bit of us that lays the foundation for our joys and fulfillment. The dreams may appear asinine, larger-than-life, even unreal, but if followed through, turns out fantastic!
I moan people who aren’t tickled by anything. I sorrow for those who never lose track of time just dreaming. It is an awesome privilege to be able to sit and lose consciousness of time and events in your known world while exploring other worlds, while exercising the sublime faculty called imagination. While I weep for the one without dreams, I sorrow deeply for those who have either given up on their once cherished fantasies or substituted them.
Some give up their dreams because they have tried in vain to have them realized, others believe they are too old to execute those beautiful worlds they cultivated in youthful days. Others have been talked out, teased out and distracted off their highway of immense possibilities into ordinariness. Sadly also, a good number have substituted their fantasies for the ideals, wishes and imitation of others.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
“If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavours to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” – Henry David Thoreau
To start with, how do you get a dream, something that tickles you, something that ushers you into tomorrow in spite of yesterday or today? I think it comes from desire – the reason for which a hopeless person is such a pitiful sight. For when a man loses hope, there is hardly anything that can be done for him. When tomorrow holds no promise, even the most endowed would wilt miserably.
“All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”– T.E. Lawrence
Asking questions is a good way to start-off in the process of cultivating a dreaming mindset. Ask yourself, if I could do anything, without limitation what would I love to do to be as happy as I could possibly be? If I had an endless life, what are the things I would love to do or be? Alternatively, if I knew I would be dead four days from today, what would I spend the next seventy-two (72) to ninety-six (96) hours doing? While doing these queries, you would agree with me that quietness is of essence.
Another key on the path of dreaming or fantasy is exposure. Imagination is fed by a spark of fresh evidence, and fuelled by increased contact with new information. Read a good book, watch a good movie if you must, listen to a good speaker, listen to some good music and very importantly, have a change in your physical environment.
Each of the aforementioned is a powerful tool capable of launching us into a new and exciting world if engaged purposefully. For example, apart from enjoying the rhythm and beats of say Jazz, Symphonic Orchestra and Classical music, consciously engage with the lyrics of the songs you enjoy. Very importantly, change your physical environment – either literally or virtually. Watch a documentary about other lands, go online and read about other nations and people or simply take a vacation, visit tourist sites (if you can).
Having crossed the last barrier, let us talk about our dreams, the one you even feel childish talking about.
“The future belongs to those who believed in the beauty of their dreams” – Eleanor Roosevelt
It is my firm belief that God is too original and creative to cast all of us into the same mould. He is so nifty He gave each man a SIM (unique thumb print, tongue print, bone structure, iris pattern only to mention a few), not forgetting a unique dream. Yours appears ridiculous because it is different from theirs. But hey, celebrate your difference. Never allow anyone, however respected, educated, elderly or influential speak little or look down on your fantasies; never! Never substitute your fantasies for the so-called reality or realism of another.
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” – Unknown
Why do I insist? Scriptures state
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” – (Matthew 6: 21)
In other words, just as the compass of the needle rests on the North by default, so your thoughts and entire thinking would effortlessly, constantly and naturally lean towards the place of your God-given area of wealth and happiness.
“Dreams are like stars…you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.” – Unknown
So may I ask, ladies and gentlemen, what is your fantasy? What has happened to your fantasies?