Yesterday, I was in the bookstore when I came across a display of books that read ‘Realistic Fiction’.
As a reader of mostly non-fiction, psychology and self-improvement books, I am not well versed with the different fiction genres, but I was suitably intrigued. I stopped for a moment and started to browse through the realistic fiction titles on display.
What I discovered was a set of stories that were based in the reality that we know today. The books told stories of people doing somewhat unique or extraordinary things in the world, but didn’t stretch anything beyond reality.
As I left the bookstore, I was stuck by the idea that this term ‘Realistic Fiction’ is actually the way a lot of us live our lives.
Imagination is at the core of what drives most of our actions. We visualize an outcome that doesn’t yet exist and we then move our body towards achieving it. Without some sort of end in mind, it is very difficult to use our personal power.
I think however, some of us get trapped in this idea of being ‘realistic’ when it comes to achieving big goals in life.
When I was very young, I was encouraged to be whatever I wanted to be: an astronaut, a circus strongman, an artist. And yet, as I reached my mid teenage years, I was told that it was time to be realistic and figure out what I wanted to do.
It seemed that the permission to ‘be whatever I wanted’ was being replaced by the instruction to ‘do something with my life’.
I am sure you’ve had something similar happen to you.
This is, I believe is where realistic fiction starts to take hold. Instead of dreaming big, of seeing huge possibilities, we start to see smaller, more ‘realistic’ versions of the future in front of us.
Instead of creating something new or reinventing who we are, we aim for a promotion at work, or a holiday. We tend to look to the lives of those close to us, and model our own reality on what they are doing.
For about ten years during my late 20s and early 30s, I struggled to try to fit into what I figured was ‘realistic’. I kept who I truly was hidden and figured it was time to ‘do what everyone else was doing’.
By the time I reached 35, I felt like I was half-dead. It was around this time, that I started to dare to think unrealistically.
What strikes me as I look back on the past few years of my life, is how little being ‘realistic’ actually helped me achieve anything. The bigger, unrealistic goals I have set myself have somehow given me more strength, energy and momentum than being realistic ever did.
And guess what… some of them are starting to become reality.
Planning your future based on ‘realistic fiction’ is a trap. It is the mediocre version of who you are. A set of fake limitations that you choose to abide by, simply because other people do.
The world is as big, as open, as exciting as you choose it to be.