Monday, November 29, 2010

Idealism or Realism

When I worked as a counselor, one of my clients told me that he felt I was a bit too idealistic, and needed to be more of a realist.

 When I was in therapy, before I had become a counselor, I told my therapist that I wanted to apply to graduate school to become a therapist. My therapist's response, "Your clients would eat you alive."  Interestingly enough, during my internship, I worked with people with Paranoid Schizophrenia. Guess what? I'm still alive. It's amazing how some people mask their negativity as "realism", and criticize those of us that would like to believe anything is possible, calling us idealists or dreamers. If I had heeded my therapist's call to realism, I would not have a master's degree.

During the past couple of weeks, I had the good fortune to attend a book festival where several gifted writers presented talks about their work and their writing process. The first lecture that I attended, the author told the audience that had she known how difficult it would be to break into the writing field, she would not have done it. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't find her message particularly inspiring for hopeful writers. On the second to last day of the book festival I had the good fortune to hear co-authors discuss their journey to getting their work published. Neither potential agents nor publishing houses knew what to do with their book. Parts of it read like a novel, however, it contained several recipes. Was it a novel or a cookbook? As a result, no one wanted to touch it. The authors believed in their work, and wanted to see it published, so they published it themselves. To make a long story short, the book began selling quite well, and subsequently has been picked up by Harper Collins. Their message to the audience:  never give up on your dreams, anything is possible.

My message for the day: don't allow authority figures, whether it is your therapist, or a publishing house, to make  important life decisions for you. You could be cheating yourself out of a bright and creative future.

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