Here are three things realistic thinking will do for you:
(1) It will give you a sense of security. When you have thought through the worst that can happen and developed contingency plans to meet it, you become more confident and secure. It’s reassuring to know that you are unlikely to be surprised. Disappointment is the difference between expectations and reality. Thinking realistically minimises the difference between the two.
(2) It will give you credibility. Leaders who are continually surprised by the unexpected soon lose credibility in the eyes of their followers. On the other hand, leaders who think realistically and plan accordingly position themselves to win. That gives their followers confidence in them. So before you invite anyone else to be part of your vision or your project, ask yourself:
(a) Is it possible?
(b) Have I identified and explained the pros and cons of achieving it?
(c) Do I have a solid foundation to build on?
Thomas Edison observed, ‘The value of a good idea is in using it.’
(3) It will help you to make an idea useable by taking away the ‘wish factor’. Most ideas and efforts don’t accomplish their intended results because they rely too much on what we wish, rather than what is. You can’t build a house in mid-air; it needs a solid foundation. Ideas and plans are the same. They need something concrete on which to build, and thinking realistically provides that solid foundation. Solomon put it this way: ‘A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.’ So the word for today is—think realistically.