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Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. (Casey Kasem)

I’m a big believer is looking at things realistically. For example, we often hear people propose simplistic solutions for very complex problems. Those solutions frequently ignore the reality of the problem and seek instead to redefine the problem in terms of an easy solution. That simply doesn’t work. It’s not realistic.

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As parents, we sometimes feel the need to keep our children’s dreams realistic. The teenager that dreams of being a rock star or a professional football player probably shouldn’t peg all his hopes on achieving that, because very few people do. On the other hand, the only ones who do are those who dream of it.

Many of you have read about my dysfunctional parents. They were very good at quashing my dreams. I don’t think they did it as a form of abuse. I think it was a combination of not knowing any better (parenting the way they were parented) and not wanting to see me disappointed. I sometimes wonder what might have been if I’d had support for my dreams instead of a heavy dose of reality and the constant admonition not to get my hopes up.

Standing at a crossroads

I’ve felt for a while now that I was at something of a crossroads in life. My children are grown. The days of soccer practice and Cub Scout meetings have long since passed. I’m not in a position to retire — nor, frankly, would I want to. But I do need to find a new direction and purpose for my life.

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Faced with the difficulty in nailing down exactly what I want, I settled on this: I want to live my best life. Hence this year’s theme for The Beach Memo.

I’ve also become quite impatient with incremental changes and small thinking. All the logic in the world may tell us those things work, but for me, it doesn’t feel right.

Entrepreneur Grant Cardone developed something called The 10X Rule. From James Clear’s book review, the basic premise is this:

The 10X Rule says that 1) you should set targets for yourself that are 10X greater than what you believe you can achieve and 2) you should take actions that are 10X greater than what you believe are necessary to achieve your goals. The biggest mistake most people make in life is not setting goals high enough. Taking massive action is the only way to fulfill your true potential.

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It’s not about having unrealistic expectations. It’s about motivating yourself to do more than you think you can.

When we put limitations on ourselves — or our children or anyone else — we’re setting up unnecessary boundaries. They’re like fences. The message is you can go this far but no farther.

The result is that we set our sights on getting to the fence-line and that’s it.

Shop Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him
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Reach for more

The idea of The 10X Rule is to change how we set goals and therefore require more of ourselves as we seek to jump the fence and make it all the way to the horizon. We may not make it that far, but we’ll achieve a lot more than if we had accepted the original boundary.

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So, yes, being realistic is important. It doesn’t matter how badly I want to be a star in the WNBA. Even if I were 40 years younger, I never grew past 5’2″, so I have to accept the reality that a starting position on a professional basketball team is probably not going to happen. On the other hand, if I want it badly enough and I’m willing to put in the work — hours of practice, learning from the pros, getting in the best shape I can — I’m going to achieve a lot more than if I had accepted my limitations and settled for the idea that my destiny is in a cubicle, not on the hardwood.

The truth is, we often set what we perceive as realistic goals because we simply don’t want to put in the work required to reach unrealistic ones. Maybe that’s because we think those goals are impossible to reach. But if you do reach for them, think of what you can achieve. Even if you never touch that star, you will soar higher than you ever believed possible simply by doing the things it takes to get there.

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