Dream and Reality

November 15, 2013 3 mins read
Dream and Reality

Once, I participated in an unforgettable training seminar. On the second and third day we engaged in a Sand play: The trainer divided us into six groups, each group is responsible for the operations of a company.

All the companies engaged in direct competition selling similar products. By analyzing the financial information (e.g. cash flows) of their own company and their competitors, groups could see who ended up with the greatest total assets. Our group took ultimate victory with a total of 180 Yuan. We were asked to guess what the all-time world record was—the highest conjecture came in at less than 300 Yuan. The instructor then told us the true record: Over 600, with second place at 580. We were stunned. As the instructor then revealed, these two groups had one thing in common: They had both set a goal of 600 before even beginning, and proceeded to work backwards from the target to formulate monthly goals with different operating plans for each month. This was in stark contrast to our beginning-to-end approach and consideration of only the previous two months of development.

Put those explanations aside, most people would consider 600 just an unattainable dream in the beginning. In actuality, there are two completely different ways of thinking about it: Standing in the present and looking into the future, and standing in the future and looking to the present. The subtle differences in these approaches yield vastly different results. The reason for this is that the former way of thinking restricts your field of vision, causes you to underestimate your potential, and lends you towards mental inertia.

I still remember the Australian instructor’s words: “There are two steps make you success. First, believe you can. Second, make an action plan and do it.” On the face of it, the steps towards realizing your dreams are incredibly simple. It’s obvious; however, only few people ever manage to truly turn their dreams into reality. Many people have no action plan, and most end up stumbling on step one—they don’t believe in themselves. The majority of those around you will tell you to face the facts, that your dreams are just unattainable flights of fancy. Most people lack the self-understanding and confidence to disregard what others are saying. An even more fundamental problem is this: Although most people have dreams and want to win, their fear of losing prevents them from taking the necessary action. They lack inner strength and think they can’t afford the cost of failure.

Dream and reality isn’t black-and-white opposing forces. On the contrary, dream is based on reality: Creating an action plan is the process of overcoming mental inertia and discovering the feasibility of your dream.

Balancing dream and reality is an art. Everyone has their own scale to measure what’s important. Dream must be constantly adjusted in response to real forces. Most people choose to compromise in favor of reality. In light of the fact that the majority of rewards usually go to a minority of people, however, maybe now is the time to start thinking about going against the flow.

Tracy Luo's picture
Tracy Luo
Associate Director | Finance & Strategy Recruitment