A story is told of a man that came home from work tired and famished…
He found his wife and 8-year old son relaxing in the lobby. The wife, like the good wife she was, welcomed him. She then went to the kitchen to get him a snack. A moment later, she came back with a cup of coffee and some pancakes, only that the pancakes were slightly burnt.
The husband noticed and the wife saw that he had realized they were burnt. She started explaining herself, ‘the pan was too hot, I got lost in thoughts, I will cook wonderful pancakes next time.’
She was staring at the floor, probably in guilt or shame. Now, what happened next caught her by surprise. The husband took one of the pancakes and took a big bite, chewed it tenderly, swallowed and exclaimed. He said that he had never eaten pancakes that tasted so delicious. He added that the slight burning was his wife’s secret ingredient because it made them so good.
All along, their witty son was watching the happenings with keen interest. When his mother went to the kitchen to take back the utensils (humming to a song while donning a big smile) the boy gave his dad a blank stare, which may have sounded like “really dude!” if it were converted to words.
After a moment, he said to his father,
“Those pancakes were burnt. I don’t like burnt pancakes. They taste awful.”
He then made a highly exaggerated “eeeww” sound to echo his disgust.
The dad stared deep into his son’s eyes and told him,
“Your mother put a lot of effort in making the pancakes. From breaking the eggs, mixing the dough, adding flavors, and even cooking them on the pan. There is no way that she would do all that work just to burn the pancakes.”
He held the little boy’s hand and added,
“You see son, your mom made them with love, and I reciprocated the same by eating despite the fact that they are burnt. She’s had a long day and it is only right that I am gentle with her and cheer her up after the pancakes disappointed her.”
On hearing the words, the boy’s eyes shone as he smiled knowingly. A smile that showed a big gap between his front canines on the upper jaw where his milk teeth had previously occupied. He then scurried to the kitchen, probably to hug his mother’s leg or something that would show her some appreciation or affection.
Now, this man is a realist. He sees a problem, acknowledges it, and handles it in the best way he can to bring forth positive results.
There is a thing with realists that makes them circumvent issues and avoid getting themselves in sticky wickets. I believe the answer lies with their acceptance of the situation at hand, which conditions their minds to come up with the ideal route to escape it unscathed.
With that said, we all need to work towards becoming more realistic when dealing with situations to avoid the disappointments and complications that come with the failure to accept situations as they are, or rather, pinning our decisions and reactions to the ideal. We tend to think that since we did something in the right way, the results should be just as we expect them to be. It’s not always the case.
There is a song I liked when I was little. The singer laments about love and argues that love is a tough nut to crack.
He wishes that it would be as simple as arithmetic where you know that there is only one answer to each question. That there was a formula to love that would point a person to the final outcome. He adds that if love was arithmetic, he would be able to use the defined formulas, know that it will end up with him staring into the blackness of the night, face contorted in heartbreak, and his appetite banished to eternal damnation. He would then bolt before that ever happens to him. Sadly, those are just wishes, and in love, we are all beggars of some sort.
There is a power with being a realist that saves us much trouble than when our means of solving problems are tailored otherwise.
For instance, it helps us to avoid overthinking, and in the process, evade the negativity that come with the vice.
Overthinking is one of the most dangerous habits that one can develop because of the adverse mental repercussions it has on an individual. People that have this disorder never get around to actualizing solutions because they are stuck in a vicious cycle of possibilities and second guessing. Instead of solving the issue at hand, they create more problems by thinking about its causes, its meaning or what it may lead to in the future.
In most cases, the solution to each issue we face is within reach. However, as we continue to think about the problem, we continuously push the remedy further making it hard to get out of the situation. Therefore, overthinking catalyzes our stress levels, which can in turn, increase the probability of adopting bad habits such as alcoholism, drug abuse, and other forms of overly indulgent behaviors.
Realists, on the other hand, rarely overthink. When a problem comes, they dissect it and handle it accordingly. That means that a realist is able to move beyond the travails that halt one’s normal functioning.
Decreases chances of Sickness
Similarly, many chronic conditions are attached to the stress that emanates from overthinking. Some of these illnesses include diabetes, panic and anxiety attacks, and heart problems. Overthinking also propagates the risk factors of cancer.
I am not saying that a realist will not suffer from such conditions. In fact, some of these diseases are caused by one’s genetic make-up. However, there is absolutely no problem with making attempts to reduce the risk. After all, isn’t prevention better than a cure?
Is it Half Full or Half Empty?
As a realist, I believe that I am a positive being. I am the kind of a person that will be in a hopeless situation and all it takes is one breath to normalize my bodily functions and embrace it. Once I take it in stride, I am at a better place to find a solution because I am still in the right state of mind and all my systems are working in cohort to get me out of the sticky wicket.
With that said, I will always tend to lie on the former when forced to choose between the half-full and half empty scenario.
Finally, being a realist strengthens one’s faith, whether to a supreme being, oneself, or one’s skills. I am a Christian believer. As a realist, I can come across a situation that is highly disconcerting but there is nothing I can do about it. When my abilities are dwarfed against the issue at hand, I can rely on God to work on it in the background. Most people confuse faith to hopelessness, but to the faithful, there is an innate calmness that engulfs a person that knows only a supreme being can sort out their troubles. Such a person has seen the issue, interpreted it, accepted the outcomes, and handed over the responsibility of handling it to a more capable being.
The good book tells us that God’s power is made perfect in weakness, and thus, when we are week, his power manifests without us having to lift a finger about it.
When I have faith, I do not keep on churning the issue in my head hoping to crack the solution. I do not keep poking holes at a problem to see where it could all go wrong. Instead, I concentrate on what I can change and leave the rest to the one above to do His ultimate purpose.
That way, I get to pick on problems my own size.
So, there you have it. I am a realist, and for that sole reason, I think I will live long.