Reality and its Detractors

Sometimes a reality check is just what we don’t need. Consider Amelia Earhart and Victoria Beckham, two well-known, influential women. Different women in different eras, they shared more than a defiance of will to get what they wanted. Once Earhart recognized her desire for flight, she patterned her dress and speech after the pilots she came to admire over time. She saw herself as a pilot. She formed a vision of herself not from what was real but from the whole cloth of desire and imagination. Look where it took her.

Victoria Beckham PicturesVictoria Beckham’s teenage desire spun beyond being merely famous. She wanted universal brand recognition. Her well-documented assertion, “I want to be as famous as Persil Automatic” distilled her wish to a singular focus. Persil Automatic is one of Britain’s leading detergents. The combined power of her ambition and imagination fueled her ascent, as if the trajectory were Posh Spice’s own creation. It was. She lit that initial ember by thinking unrealistically.

By further example, think of speeding through a sweeping corner in a car. It’s best to focus further down the road a bit – on where you want to go, not on what you want to avoid. Ignore that guardrail. Once you blink it will be gone from view anyway, instantly unimportant. Emerging from the corner safely and arriving at your destination only happens by accounting for speed and ignoring small-scale challenges that gain influence over our course of travel if we let them.

Being too realistic limits our options for change. Growth and change begins somewhere. The framework is our unrealistic imagination. It pulls us forward into the future we create.