“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.”
Reality is the difference between what we wish for and what it is. It may take some time for anyone who want to accept reality but once start engaging with reality you start solving problems and lead to learning from your mistakes. We make realistic thinking the foundation of our business because we derive certainty and security from it.
WHY REALISTIC THINKING ?
If you’re a naturally optimistic person, you may not possess great desire to become a more realistic thinker. But cultivating the ability to be realistic in your thinking will not undermine your faith in people, nor will it and seize opportunities. Instead, it will add value to you in other ways:
1. To Minimize Downside Risk
Calculated risk make you strong against unforeseen events. Actions always have consequences; realistic thinking helps you to determine what those consequences could be. And that’s crucial, because only by recognizing and considering consequences can you plan for them. If you plan for the worst-case scenario, you can minimize the downside risk.
2. Realistic Thinking Gives You a Target and Game Plan
The good news about highly optimistic people is they are very positive and have a high degree of hope for everything. Here’s the bad news: hope is not a strategy. Realistic thinking leads to excellence in leadership and life because it requires people to face reality. They begin to define their target and develop a game plan to hit it. When people engage in realistic thinking, they also begin to simplify practices and procedures, which results in better efficiency. It improves focus on important topics in business and life.
3. Realistic Thinking Is a Catalyst for Change
People who rely on hope for their success rarely make change a high priority. If you have only hope, you imply that achievement and success are out of your hands. It’s a matter of luck or chance. Why bother changing? Realistic thinking can dispel that kind of wrong attitude. There’s nothing like staring reality in the face to make a person recognize the need for change. Change alone doesn’t bring growth but you cannot have growth without change.
4. Realistic Thinking Provides Security
Any time you have thought through the worst that can happen and you have 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. Realistic thinking minimizes the difference between the two.
5. Gives You Credibility
Realistic thinking helps people to buy in to the leader and his or her vision. Leaders continually surprised by the unexpected soon lose credibility with their followers. On the other hand, leaders who think realistically and plan accordingly position their organizations to win. That gives their people confidence in them.
The best leaders ask realistic questions before casting vision. They ask themselves things like: Does this dream include everyone or just a few? Have I identified and articulated the areas that will make this dream difficult to achieve?
6. Provides a Foundation to Build On
The bottom line on realistic thinking is that it helps you to make an idea usable 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. Realistic thinking provides that solid foundation.
7. Realistic Thinking Is a Friend to Those in Trouble
If creativity is what you would do if you were unafraid of the possibility of failure, then reality is dealing with failure if it does happen. Realistic thinking gives you something concrete to fall back on during times of trouble, which can be very reassuring. Certainty in the midst of uncertainty brings stability.
8. Realistic Thinking Brings the Dream to Fruition
If you don’t get close enough to a problem, you can’t tackle it. If you don’t take a realistic look at your dream—and what it will take to accomplish it—you will never achieve it. Realistic thinking helps to pave the way for bringing any dream to fruition.
To summarise Realistic thinking is not a pessimistic thinking but it’s a more sound thinking with proper foundation to reach the target state. It gives a solid base to any creative thinking to come in to reality i.e. not only staying in dreams and hopes which may fail some time but including risks and mitigation in plan. So while we be creative, also stay on ground and ensure that those creations are brought to reality.
(Inspired by “How Successful People Think.”)