A Little Dose of Truth and Reality

by Stephen Mills on July 30, 2009


“Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why then should we desire to be deceived?”  — Joseph Butler

I wish that everyone was happy and free.  I wish governments only passed laws to prevent people from interfering in each others’ lives.  I wish that everyone was rational and reasonable, that store employees had a customer service attitude, that slow drivers wouldn’t drive in the left-hand lane, and that people wouldn’t park their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle in a supermarket.  I wish everyone would stop meddling in their neighbor’s business and caring what god they worshipped or failed to worship.  I wish nobody cared about the sexual preferences or practices of other people.

I wish people would stop trashing the planet, fighting wars, having babies they can’t take care of, spending money they don’t have, and doing anything that irritates me.  I wish there was something on TV worth watching.  I wish somebody would hand me ten million tax free dollars for sitting on my ass.  I wish pretty hula girls in grass skirts would serve me drinks and give me a massage on a Hawaiian beach, just because I want it.

There is a whole lot more I wish for, but unfortunately the world doesn’t seem to give a crap about that.  My desires do not transform the world or seemingly produce any effects at all except my own frustration.  I learned a long time ago that nobody was going to change their mind because I formulated a good argument.  I learned that I was not going to gain political freedom by debating politics and joining a crusade.  I learned that people were going to continue to go their own way no matter what I thought.   I learned I was unable to control anyone else.

Yes, you can have freedom in an unfree world, you can be happy in a country of unhappy people, and you can make good money in a bad economy.  But you aren’t going to have any of that or achieve your dreams by changing the world or by changing anyone in particular.

You have to accept reality.  A proper understanding of reality gives you the ability to make rational decisions for yourself and not have to depend upon the flawed outlook of others or the vagaries of chance.  If you want to be successful, you have to stop bitching about what you don’t like and instead work within the world of what actually exists whether you like it or not.

Francis Bacon said “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”  In other words, you can’t be effective if you don’t play by the rules of reality.  If your assumptions and premises are false you are going to make bad decisions.  If you operate based upon the way you wish things were, you’ll be wishing you hadn’t.  You can choose to use reality to your advantage and it will work wonders for you.  Alternatively you can ignore reality or wish it was something else, and it will end up giving you a quick kick to the groin when you least expect it.

You must be a persistent truth seeker.  You must discover and accept the way the world actually works and how people really behave in order to command nature.

“Proper assessment of reality can be as crucial to life as oxygen.  To try and make it through this world without a reasonable understanding of reality is like stumbling around in a dark room laden with land mines.” – Robert Ringer

Stop kidding yourself and pretending the world and the people in it are going to be what you want them to be.  Get real.  The truth shall set you free.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Buddha of Hollywood July 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm

“I am that I am” said once a wise man.
I would like to add to that; “you are what you are”
You can not, eat for me, breath for me or love for me.
The only life you can live is your own life.
Are you happy?
Then people will follow your path, no need to lead 🙂
Are you not happy?
Then why should I follow your advice?
.-= Buddha of Hollywood´s last blog ..Determinism & Free Will =-.


Jay Schryer July 31, 2009 at 7:02 am

Well said! In order to win the game, you have to play by the rules. Learning to use the rules and work within their framework leads to a successful and enjoyable life. Trying to cheat or take unfair advantages leads to pain and suffering, a situation where everyone loses.
.-= Jay Schryer´s last blog ..I Totally Screwed My Karma =-.


Deb Owen July 31, 2009 at 8:46 am

So true!

Even art has to be based in reality. In order for an artist to represent what they wish they saw in the world, they first have to know what’s real in the world.

Being empowered includes knowing what you can’t control and then choosing your best response to those circumstances. Do what we can about the things we can….and let the rest go.
Thanks for another great post!
All the best!
.-= Deb Owen´s last blog ..practicing creativity leads to creating the life you choose =-.


Vin - NaturalBias July 31, 2009 at 9:36 am

This is a great point, Stephen! Fighting reality is an uphill battle. The people who are most successful in business recognize and adapt to emerging trends rather than trying to force people in a particular direction. Sometimes you simply have to go with the flow and make the best of it! However, I’m not about to give up on the dream of having massages from pretty hula girls on a Hawaiian beach whenever I want! 🙂
.-= Vin – NaturalBias´s last blog ..How Easily Can I Offend You? =-.


Valerie M July 31, 2009 at 11:19 am

This post made me thing of something I read: that you have to see reality as being in a drama/play and everyone is playing a role just like you. Seeing it this way is supposed to help you not take life so seriously. Because when you take it too seriously, you focus too much on the small things or things you can’t control. Then you can’t see the whole play for the masterpiece it is. I’m not doing the saying any justice with my summary, but ultimately I just think people are taking reality too seriously.
Anyway, it wouldn’t be a great play if everyone played the same role. It wouldn’t be good if there was no character development or everyone went down the same path.
.-= Valerie M´s last blog ..Coming face to face with denial =-.


Jodi at Joy Discovered July 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm

This is eye-opening. I think you are right. We have to accept what is. We can decide what action to make or thought to think after the fact. The important point is acceptance. You chose some great quotes to support your point. Thank you!
.-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s last blog ..Live the Dream Now =-.


BunnygotBlog July 31, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Accepting the way things are around us should prove the motivation to improve what needs improving and compassion towards others and environment.

This is a wonderful article, Steve. I really enjoyed it.
.-= BunnygotBlog´s last blog ..Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes =-.


Flash July 31, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Yeah, I wish all these and more, too. Magical thinking is so pervasive.
.-= Flash´s last blog ..Thought moments =-.


Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills July 31, 2009 at 7:15 pm

There’s a lot more than a little dose of truth and reality here my friend. It’s a great big helping and to acknowledge it is to be empowered by it. In reality, there is only one person we can change. So instead of wishing for things we can’t do anything about, why not do our part by becoming the best possible version of ourselves. Big changes come from the combined efforts of responsible individuals who strive to contribute value.
.-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..Is Your Why Good Enough? =-.


Juancav July 31, 2009 at 8:13 pm

I think the world goes to the cliff and I do not want to be dragged to the precipice.
I think it should be light to illuminate others.
The seed must fall to bear fruit.
If I do not suffer evil, do not learn.
If I´d have everything I´ll become corrupted.


zencontrol.net August 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Very wise message… most of the people want the world to be a perfect place to live.. but the definition of perfection is different for every person. This happens from a small household to the greatest countries. This attitude of wishing and trying to change others is the major reason of suffering of people and even wars. Really liked the short and sweet message.
.-= zencontrol.net´s last blog ..7 Tips for Enhancing your Productivity at Workplace =-.


Stephen Mills August 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm

@Buddha of Hollywood thanks for the thought!

@Jay, thanks a lot for your comment and your continued participation. Life can truly be a win-win for everyone.

@Deb, yes let the rest go. Your life will be more peaceful as a result. Thanks.

@Vin, thanks. When you figure out the secret to the hula girls let me know 🙂

@Valerie, I agree totally. If everyone was the same, it would be a damn boring world!

@Jodi, thank you for your thoughts. Acceptance is key.

@BunnygotBlog, Hi! Thanks for stopping in and I love your Eleanor Roosevelt quotes.

@Flash, thank you for dropping in and joining the discussion.

@Jonathan, your comments are right on target. We can control our reality to a large extent from within ourselves.

@Juancav, welcome to the discussion and thank you for your stimulating thoughts!

@zencontrol.net, thank you so much for the kind words and thoughts. We cause ourselves a great deal of stress but wishing it weren’t so and the wishing does make any difference.


Positively Present August 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Wonderful post! Accepting reality is one of the hardest things to do, but it’s so important. SO important. Thanks for addressing the topic here.
.-= Positively Present´s last blog ..happiness and the city =-.


Dragos Roua August 2, 2009 at 3:32 am

I was just finishing a post about how and why we’re faking stuff. Timely post for me, then 🙂

Accepting something is the only hook you have to change that something. Rejecting it will push it out of your reach….
.-= Dragos Roua´s last blog ..August Mariner Promo Code =-.


Anand M August 2, 2009 at 8:52 am

sounds good, correct, effective. but i need to follow, practice to actually experience the goodness. so, more later..


MGL August 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm

We used to know a Psychologist that used to say acceptance is enough.
Combined with a little meditation, it was effective therapy.


Robin Easton August 6, 2009 at 10:19 am

I love looking at things how they REALLY are. It is ONLY then that I know what I am dealing with. It is then that I can assess what “I” can or can’t do to affect change in my world. Bottom line: I can really only control myself and even then there are things I have no control over. But with a wide-open-eyes look at reality I am able to make more solid and realistic choices and do not delude myself. As romantic spirited as I am, as much of a creative dreamer as I am, as much as I live “out of the box” I am a solid realist. And I like that. I don’t like covering my eyes to truth.

Great raw gusty post, very important and one I’m sure so many people will relate to. You know, a lot of peace can be garnered when we can look at and embrace what is real, what is true. We are then standing on solid ground and can make much more solid choices.

Thank you Stephen.
I REALLY like this post and relate to it.
.-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..Journey of Soul =-.


Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker August 8, 2009 at 10:27 am

Acceptance of what is and of what was has been a major key in healing from incest and healing from growing up in an alcoholic family with all of its many, many secrets. Letting go of the idea of the fairy tale family that I never had and never will have did wonders too. Learning to act rather than react to people and circumstances has given me the freedom to explore myself and my world rather than creating more chaos in an already chaotic life. Thanks for sharing this article.
.-= Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Daniel =-.


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