We all know a Dreamer.
Maybe it’s your cousin who calls herself an entrepreneur, the waiter who thinks he’s an actor, or your friend with the 90’s cover band.
We all know these people who chase their dreams, create their future, and encourage others to do the same.
It’s getting out of control, and creating a culture of hope, of possibility, and of leadership.
And I, for one, am sick of it.
So, dear Realist, it’s time we band together and get people to stop pursuing their dreams.
After all, we are the ones who know how the world really works. We’re the reasonable ones, the reliable ones, and the predictable ones. We don’t waste time dreaming of what could be -- we’re busy dealing with what actually is.
We see life as it is, not as it ought to be.
We are a dying breed; but, we are the ones who must encourage Dreamers to take a more practical, more predictable, and more realistic approach to their life.
And we better do it quickly—hope can be contagious and spread quickly.
Here is the best way to get a Dreamer to quit in 4 Easy Steps:
1. Reinforce their fear of failure
Before you set off on this path, you may need a better understanding of fear.
Let’s take a second and clarify it further.
Fear is the emotional result of projecting a negative outcome into the future.
For example, I’m afraid to go to the doctor. Why? Because I assume the doctor will stick me with a needle, and that will hurt, so, I’m afraid of it.
In this way, fear establishes our limits. If I’m scared of heights, I stay low. Scared of dogs, I don’t touch them. Scared of relationships, I live alone.
Scared of my future, I don’t create one.
Be careful, dear Realist. Well-minded Dreamers are aware of the power of fear. They will already have replaced “fear of failure” with “hope for success”. This Hope for Success is very dangerous.
It projects a positive outcome into the future, and creates a Hope Loop--a never ending cycle of positive projections into the future. A Dreamer caught in a Hope-Loop is likely to never give up. They will continue to see solutions, to adjust, and to make the best of a bad situation.
Here’s what the Hope Loop looks like: Hope replaces Fear, which opens the door for success, which creates more hope, which creates more success, which creates more hope, which creates more success…and on and on. #Annoying.
2. Remind them of the likelihood of failure
Failure is the inability to meet expectations placed on the dreamer by themselves or others.
To do this, take a second and throw some statistics at them:
“You know, 90% of new companies fail in their first year. Only 1% of actors make it. 83% of online companies lose money.”
You can use these statistics to prove that failure is easier than success, even when they work hard to succeed.
Sometimes, though, these statistics won’t be enough to convince a true Dreamer. If you find that statistics don’t pierce their armor, then, dear Realist, you must resort to stronger weaponry: you must make use of their failures.
3. Show them that their past equals their future
Investors know that past performance does not predict future performance, but dreamers don’t always realize this.
If there’s one thing that will kill a dream, it’s the belief that the past equals the future. When a Dreamer sees their future from the lens of their past, their dreams often fade away into the void of impossibility.
There is nothing more destructive than the belief that the past equals the future.
So, when you talk about their failures, be sure to position it as an indication of things to come, not as something that has already past.
You’re so close, dear Realist, and yet, there’s one final step to getting someone to quit chasing their dreams.
4. Make sure they see failure as an identity, not just an event
Failure must be WHO they are, not just WHAT they did.
Here’s how: Constantly remind them of what they are “not”.
Tell the entrepreneur they’re not really a business person, and make sure the waiter calls himself a waiter, not an actor, and tell the working mother that she’s too busy to start a company.
When they are more aware of what they are not than what they are, the Dreamer will move from hope to fear, failure will move from a what to a who, and they’ll be well on their way to recovery.
In the end, a Dreamer values the possibility of uncertainty over the predictability of security, and it’s your job, dear Realist, to make sure they come to their senses, get a real job, and give up.
Go forth, and save the world.