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Friday, June 14, 2024

This year, try being ‘unrealistically realistic’

Don’t let uncertainty or fear of failure hold you back — dream big


By JENA TUFAIL — jjtufail@ucdavis.edu


When I was younger, I used to only imagine what I could do from a “realistic” standpoint. What I thought I could do was always limited by what I deemed realistic for myself. Recently, however, I’ve been trying to implement a different approach — being “unrealistically realistic.”

Being realistic, of course, has its benefits when having goals and recognizing what’s possible and what’s not. However, how are you supposed to achieve your dreams and aspirations if what you work toward is always within your limits?

Growing up we are always told to “dream big,” and I think, as adults, most of us tend to forget this saying and instead begin to limit what we think we can do. We begin to be okay with settling with the best options that seem feasible at a given time. I recently recognized that in the last couple of years, I too have been settling. Thinking about this, I decided that my goals might be more achievable if I started to believe in myself. 

I asked myself, would the goals I once labeled as “unrealistic” become possible if I started to believe in them? I began keeping a positive daily mindset and recognized that I have the ability to try to do anything as long as I work hard for it. 

This shift has really helped me recognize that things in the past that I had deemed “unrealistic” for myself can become realistic with due time. As we age, it’s important to remember that we can never dream too big. 

Sometimes, things only seem far-fetched because we are scared of the failure we may endure in the process. Fear of failure is an obstacle many of us need to get past, and recognizing that failure will never be a setback, but merely a redirection, is the shift in mindset that I needed in order to go after some of the dreams I’ve always had for myself but was too scared to work towards. 

Even though some dreams we have may be unrealistic at certain times in our lives, breaking down goals into smaller parts can help us reach that big milestone over time.

While it is always good to try to achieve our dreams, even those we deem “unrealistic,” it is also important to incorporate some realism within our goals. Believing in dreams will always be worth it, but we need to recognize which are worth fighting for, and which may not always work out. 

This year, I challenge each of you to come up with a wild, or even “normal” dream, and to pursue it, even if you are afraid of rejection. Never give up on your dreams or your passions just because they feel too far away. Even if you experience failure during the journey, you will end up just where you need to be on your path. Believe in the unbelievable and, most importantly, yourself.


Written by: Jena Tufail — jjtufail@ucdavis.edu

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