The battle of possibility vs. pragmatism

Possibility vs. Pragmatism

That was part of the topic on a old podcast from The Accidental Creative which accompanied my cool down spin on the bike. The idea is that there’s a tension between dreaming big (seeing possibility) and getting the work actually done (pragmatism). It reminded me of a story of one of my favorite teachers. I was interviewing her for something — a newspaper article or class assignment or just because I was a dork that way — and asked her how she became an English teacher. “I majored in English in college and my father told me I’d starve as a writer so I better find something else to do,” she said. Hence, junior high English teacher.

I don’t think she regretted the decision (at least most days) and if the measure of a life is the impact you have on just one other person, she made an incredibly  positive impact on mine. But something about that story stuck with me through the years, almost as a cautionary tale, though I’m well into my 30s before I recognized its power. How often does the notion of “practical” get in my way? How often do I immediately follow up my big brainstorms with questions of “how?”

What if possibility and pragmatism worked together instead of against each other? What if instead of choosing between my big dream and the pragmatic steps I let them play off each other? So as I start to develop my goals and intentions for the upcoming year, I’ll let possibility be my guide, my overarching theme so to speak, and let pragmatism carry me through the daily steps. I don’t need to figure out all the answers to “how” just yet. All I need to do is dream big and take a few steps toward it each day. My pragmatism will be filled with possibility. And won’t that be a fun way to live, love and train?


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