approx. 4 min read time and it's totally worth it.
Dear Reasonable Realist:
We all know a Unreasonable 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 Reasonable 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 Unreasonable 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 are 4 Easy Steps to get a Unreasonable Dreamer to quit (hint...its not that hard to do):
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. I'm believe tomorrow will hurt, so I'm scared of it.
In this way, fear establishes our limits. If I’m scared of heights, I stay low. Scared of dogs, I won’t touch them. Scared of relationships, I live alone.
If I'm scared of my future, I won’t create one.
A word of caution, dear Reasonable Realist. Well-minded Unreasonable 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. You can use these statistics to create a Narrative of Improbability in the person with a dream.
The Narrative of Improbability sounds something like this: "Achieving my dreams is a long shot, and probably won't ever happen to me. I mean, look at all the people out there trying to be actors. Only a few of them ever make it. There's no way it would be me. It always happens to other people--I'm never the winner." This narrative reinforces that the odds are stacked against you, others are ahead of you, and that you aren't worthy of living out your dreams. This narrative creates bitterness and jadedness!
It's quitting gold! Guaranteed to make someone stop pursuing their dreams!
For your information, Dear Realist, the Narrative of Improbability is the opposite of the Narrative of Possibility. Be very careful of a Dreamer whose narrative is one of possibility--they are truly dangerous.
The Narrative of Possibility sounds like this: "I know it's difficult, but it's possible. All things are possible. I will keep moving honorably and with determination towards my dreams. I will be patient and invest in process. I will not let others define my success. I will work hard always, and though nothing is guaranteed, I will know that a life spent in pursuit of a dream is better than a life spend in avoidance of one." The Narrative of Possibility is rooted in the power of hope, confidence, and a deep belief in their ability to create.
It's not good.
When you hear a Dreamer saying these things, you must stop them. Use statistics, articles, and reasonable arguments to get them to change their narrative. They are in real risk of achieving their dreams.
3. Show them that their past equals their future
Financial Investors know that past performance does not predict future performance, but Unreasonable 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.
This belief is void of forgiveness, and any dreamer unable to forgive will not be able to finish the journey ahead. They will be so burdened with the weight of their past that their legs will grow tired, their shoulders weak, and they will have to quit their pursuit.
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 happened. Continue to remind them of their mistakes. If your friend is an actor, remind her of the auditions she never booked, or the bad reviews she got on her last show. You can also go deep into their past if you feel its necessary! Remind her that her high school teacher never liked her, or that her college professors never cast her. That stuff always works...
To get someone to quit, make sure their past is still in their present.
They will quickly become embittered, blame others, and be unable to bear the weight of their of their journey. It always works!
4. Make sure they see failure as an identity, not just an event
Failure must be WHO they are, not just WHAT they did.
When failure becomes an identity and not an event, the dreamer is powerless to combat feelings of worthlessness and despair. They associate their self-worth with their lowest life moments--it's a perfect recipe for giving up!
Here’s how you can make failure an identity not an event: Constantly remind the Dreamer of who 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.
Dreamers, especially actors, are quick to believe any voice that makes them less. Voice that remind them of what they ARE, void that build them up, are rarely taken seriously.
When they are more aware of who they are not than who 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 giving up their dreams.
People give up on their dreams everyday. Don't be surprised at how easy it can be to get someone to quit.
In fact, they will do most of the work for you. They fight for their limitations, they create their own obstacles, and they are quick to blame others.
But, in the rare case that you meet someone of unique, unreasonable determination, follow the steps, and you will undoubtedly make them quit.
Go forth, and save the world.
Are you on the verge of quitting? Are people trying to get you to quit? Do you believe the voices that make you less?