“You can be anything you want, just not everything you want.”David Allen (1945 – )
When we are young, a great part of our excitement comes from the idea that we can be anything we want. Our lives are huge amounts of potential just waiting to manifest into something real. Children get a rush from the idea of becoming astronauts, doctors, firemen, teachers, mermaids, and superheroes when they grow up but as we get older we realize that we may not get to be all of these things. At some point, we have to trade out our ability to be anything for something finite. I believe this is one of the biggest markers between children and adults. Adults inherently have less potential to manifest than children and it drains them of their energy. This is why kids seems so full of life and adults are a little more dreary. We are in love with the idea of potential and possibility. It is the lifeblood of our souls. But at some point we have to make the Reality-Possibility Exchange.
The Reality-Possibility Exchange is not something that comes across us one day. It is something that we have to actively bring about in order to make anything of serious significance. We must decide to trade our possibility with reality and this tends to be a painful process.
We are in love with what could be and the realities of what is usually fails in comparison to the potential we see in things.
Making this exchange is not something we like to do but it is something that must be done in order to create. Initially the project will be way under satisfactory standards, but over time with great care, the project can turn into something that far exceeds the imagination.
It is okay to do
something badly at first and improve it later. This took me years of making
literally insane mistakes to learn.
I would get so upset that pure genius wasn’t flowing from my fingertips at
every moment. How arrogant.
Making this exchange is different than being unsatisfied with our work. It is more of a practice of humility and a way to take pride in the things that end up becoming reality.
The Dangers of Not Exchanging
If we refuse to make this exchange we will find ourselves in a few different situations:
- We will be surrounded by a million ideas that we started but never came to fruition
- We will be immensely unsatisfied with our ideas that have manifested into the world
- We will find ourselves paralyzed from our delusions of believing that whatever we produce must be perfect, resulting in nothing at all
- We will easily be stopped in the pursuit of our goals or during a hiccup in the creative process
“You can have your cake and eat it too. Just not at the same time.”
Jordan Peterson explains the idea pretty well with his analysis of Peter Pan. Peter Pan is confronted with the opportunity to make the exchange and could be a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t.
Not wanting to trade our possibility for reality can really stop us from accomplishing so many things.
It’s easy to trick ourselves into thinking that we are only holding on to our possibility by not dedicating ourselves to something but in actuality we are trading our potential for failure.
We must make the trade, its way better to decide what we are trading rather than be a drifter and take whatever life gives us.