I heard a commentator yesterday talking about the Arab world and the changes going on in those cultures. In referring to some Arab leaders who are turning a blind eye to the reality of changing technology, culture, and politics, she used the term “reality deficit.” She felt that these leaders really don’t live in the same reality the rest of the world lives in each day. When she said the term, I instantly thought of leaders across a wide range of disciplines. Executives, teachers, pastors, community leaders, politicians, and many more.
I regularly see men and women who live in a bubble, undaunted by the changing world around them. Some live in the past because they miss the good old days. Others live in the future because they don’t like the present. Still others refuse to confront the truth about their business, churches, or non-profit organizations.
Reality Deficit. It’s a great term. For the most part these people aren’t jerks or bad people. They’ve just refused to face the truth for so long, they’ve forgotten the language.
How do you overcome a reality deficit?
1. Open your eyes. Have the courage to face the truth about your situation. It may be painful, but it’s the only real truth you have. Stop passing the buck, blaming others, or living in denial. Healing starts with facing the illness head on.
2. Listen. You’re surrounded by people willing to help. However, they may be tired of you turning a deaf ear, or ignoring them. Start listening to their ideas – even the contrary ones. Friction often sparks new thinking, and breaks the deadlock of denial.
3. Finally, get a bigger picture. I love reading the Bible because it’s a constant reminder that there’s a bigger world out there. Seen from God’s eyes, my problems don’t seem nearly as intimidating. Perspective matters, and a bigger view helps you see the real relationship of people, things, and ideas.
Do you know someone suffering from a reality deficit? Any other suggestions for shaking them out of it?