Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ignore the "real world"

In their book Rework, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson offer a rather in-your-face indictment to those who use the 'real world' to justify apathy:

"That would never work in the real world." You hear it all the time when you tell people about a fresh idea. 
This real world sounds like an awfully depressing place to live. It's a place where new ideas, unfamiliar approaches, and foreign concepts always lose. The only things that win are what people already know and do, even if those things are flawed and inefficient. 
Scratch the surface and you'll find these 'real world' inhabitants are filled with pessimism and despair. They expect fresh concepts to fail They assume society isn't ready for or capable of change. 
Even worse, they want to drag others down into their tomb. If you're hopeful and ambitious, they'll try to convince you your ideas are impossible. They'll say you're wasting your time. 
Don't believe them. That world may be real for them, but it doesn't mean you have to live in it. 
We know because our company fails the real-world test in all kinds of ways. In the real world, you can't have more than a dozen employees spread out in eight different cities on two continents. In the real world, you can't attract millions of customers without any salespeople or advertising. In the real world, you can't reveal your formula for success to the rest of the world. But we've done all those things and prospered.

The real world isn't a place, it's an excuse. It's a justification for not trying. It has nothing to do with you.

The most successful people in the world become successful because they overcome the odds. They found themselves on a journey where roadblocks were the norm, not the exception. Wonderfully talented people make something of themselves not because they are just naturally talented, but because they passionately pursue success through their failures.

Andrew Razeghi offers this bite size wisdom:

Know that we humans do not have to be stuck in our ways. We choose to do so.
If we keep expecting others to change first, nothing will ever happen. It is like the body and the shadow.  Where the body goes, the shadow goes too.  The body never follows the shadow.

Are you the body or the shadow?


  1. Going in for a meeting today with my administrator, where I'll try to convince him that we need to radically change what and how we teach. Of course, they've been doing things this way for a long time, so he'll come up with excuses and almost certainly shoot me down, but I have to try. I wouldn't be able to rest easy at night knowing I'm a shadow.

  2. You made me stop and think. I know without a doubt I was the body when I started this ride. I am not the shadow, yet. But the shadows are taking their toll on me.

    Time for reevaluation.

  3. Everyone lives with different situations all over the globe .. I always say everyone's world's a "real world" ;P


  4. I don't know what I am, but I'm pretty sure everyone I try to talk to is a shadow. Every time I try to tell someone how badly school is doing at actualy teaching people, they just go "I agree/I understand, but that's how it is, and you'll have to deal with it anyway." I don't care if they claim they agree with me, I can tell they're just brushing the issue aside and thinking it's impossible.

  5. ... and I'm going to suggest a different perspective. I'd rather advise you all to ignore the people who delude themselves into thinking their static, marginal world represents the "real world." It is a hollow excuse for blocking change. The real world shifts beneath our feet constantly. The same people blocking your change effort with the excuse that change is not practical - not functional, are the same people who grumble when they are pressed into change.


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