Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Piece of Advice #18: Dream little

A certain geometry teacher of mine once had a saying he liked: Lowered expectations equals decreased disappointment.   He was an interesting guy.  He put the fear of God into his students and at the same time was absolutely entertaining.  He was right on this one, as he was on so many other things.

That saying, "Dream it, do it" - total hogwash.  Somehow it is popular to believe that anyone, regardless of intelligence level, natural talents, physical attributes, what have you, can accomplish anything just by wanting it enough.  And these things that we want are uniformly high status things.  We want to become an astronaut.  We want to be a Hollywood star.  We want to make millions of dollars before we turn 30.  We want a McMansion with two late model SUV's in its three-stall garage.  We want baby Einsteins.  

It is of some use to get a grip here and scale down the want list.  If the average person's IQ is 100, that means for every person with a 120 IQ, there is a person with an 80 IQ, and the bell curve is highest right there at average intelligence.  People of average intelligence will never be astronauts or brain surgeons or solve important scientific problems of the age.  But that's okay.  The world needs people who do normal jobs too.  The world really needs people who perform their jobs and roles regularly, responsibly, and with integrity.  And doing so is an attainable goal for most people, if they try hard enough and tamp down on the self-interest.   Choose your career, job or vocation based on your skills and your ability to get the job or acquire the skills needed to do the job.  Choose your dates the same way.  Most of us aren't 10's or even 8's on the dating market.  On the scale from 1 to 10 a 5 is average.  Average people need love too, and they often have more to give than the higher ups who think they are God's gift to humanity and treat people around them accordingly.

The modern family is small and doesn't need the space of a McMansion.  Larger families managed to get there from here in smaller, less environmentally disastrous vehicles than the SUV's that have been so popular for the last decade.  There's nothing wrong with driving a modest car.  It's a depreciating asset - don't waste your money on ephemeral things that lose value, especially if your money is scarce.  

Modest goals are more easily achieved and can be built on once they are achieved.  It's encouraging to succeed step by step.  People who shoot for the moon and fail will find it harder to keep trying than people who shoot for, say, the next county.  

Baby steps.  Be happy and patient with the baby steps and don't fall into the pride trap.  Pride is not your friend; very few of us can afford it even on an acquaintance basis.

1 comment:

  1. I agree completely - but this one isn't just for women! Our whole society is a bit whacked on this topic, for both genders.