Why you should STOP living in ‘The Real World’

by Joe Barnes


Mind Set


Date: May 21, 2014

Why you should STOP living in ‘The Real World’

‘Only a few months to go and you’ll be finished and out in ‘The Real World.’

‘Oh, you’ve finished Uni now? Welcome to ‘The Real World.’

What were these people talking about?

The first comment came from a University tutor, the second from a guy at the gym. Both were made some 10 plus years ago as I was about to finish, and once I had completed, university. They’re just two of the comments I can remember but if I had a pound for every time I heard that phrase I wouldn’t have needed to think about a graduate job.

You see I was about to enter ‘The Real World’ (I don’t know where I’d been living those previous 22 years!) and the future didn’t look too rosy.

In this ‘Real World’ I’d have to accept a few ‘truths’.

  • I’d have to work 50 plus hours a week for the next 40 plus years of my life.
  • There was a good chance I wouldn’t really enjoy this time I spent working because most people don’t. (According to a Right Management survey only 19% of employed people in the US and Canada reported being ‘satisfied’ with their work
  • I had to accept this neo-slavery because there were things like mortgages, rent, rates and pensions that needed to be paid for.
  • The people in my life would become commodities; either there to be manipulated to my advantage or used to prevent loneliness and the social humiliation of being a loner.
  • There wouldn’t be much meaning to my life beyond making money to survive, purchasing a few luxury consumer items that were apparently going to make me happy (if you believe the adverts), taking a vacation (or maybe two if I was lucky) each year and supporting a family I was probably going to be too stressed out to appreciate spending time with.

This was ‘The Real World’, where dreams of a happy, exciting and meaningful life were just fantasies and the reality was a long list of written and unwritten rules I had to follow and expectations I should be meeting.

Enter The Matrix

Was I scared of entering this realm?

Yes and no.

While I honestly think I’d have chosen death over this mind-numbing, soul-sapping half-life, even back then I didn’t believe I was compelled to conform.

You see I’d watched a movie 3 years prior that had a profound impact on my consciousness and left me with a feeling that there was something wrong with reality. In fact, that exact line (‘Have you ever felt that there is something wrong with reality?‘) is used in the film when the main protagonist – a disillusioned software programmer – is questioned by a Zen-like freedom fighter who offers him a glimpse into another realm with a red or blue pill.

Of course, I’m talking about The Matrix and although fictional, it offers the perfect metaphor of how a false reality can be imposed on an unsuspecting population.

So for a moment, I want you to suspend all rational thought and pretend that The Matrix is real. I want you to put yourself in the position of Neo, take a trip down the rabbit hole and discover how it’s limiting your life.

Your first step on this journey is to realise that societies concept of ‘The Real World’ is very similar to the computer generated reality which Neo inhabits. Both have their rules and regulations, programmes and modes of operating and both are accepted as ‘the truth’ about the way the world works. In fact, it’s this assumption of ‘truth’ that makes these ‘realities’ so dangerous because with it comes the acceptance that no other way of living could be possible i.e. we couldn’t have an economic system based on cooperation rather than competition or it’s not possible for a person to be happy all of the time.

These commonly held assumptions, which we mistaken for the truth, crush our potential and blind us from the joy of how our life could be. If we don’t believe something is possible then we won’t bother to try.

This is what happens when you accept ‘The Real World’. Your horizons shrink and your outlook only permits for a very narrow spectrum of possibilities. We may feel deeply unfulfilled by these possibilities and frustrated with the life that has been presented to us, but we don’t believe there’s anything we can do about it. As a result, our attitude becomes one of, ‘This is life. This is how the world works. I’ve just got to adapt to it and do the best I can‘ and our life becomes one of boredom and an inability to express who we truly are or what we’re really here to do.  

But is ‘The Real World’ all there is to life?

Are we forever doomed to the role the system gives us or can we break free?

Are you ‘The One’?

The Matrix metaphor should go some way to explaining why you should NEVER live in ‘The Real World’. It also provides a glimpse of what happens when you ‘unplug’. Far from facilitating the disaster that our parents, teachers and peers have led us to believe, rejecting ‘The Real World’ appears to be the gateway to super human abilities and an extraordinary life.

We see this in The Matrix when Neo learns Kung Fu in a matter of hours, can jump buildings and discovers that the only limits in life are the ones in his head. We see it in our world through the extra-ordinary achievements of the rebels who refuse to live by the status quo.

  • Galileo discovering evidence to support the theory that the earth rotated around the sun and turning the Christian world’s geocentric paradigm on its head.
  • Nelson Mandela, and his comrades, relentlessly campaigning for justice and eventually emancipating a nation and overcoming an entire political regime. 
  • Bruce Lee transcending physical, and racial, boundaries with his martial arts and becoming an inspiration to millions. 

All of these outstanding achievers had one thing in common – they didn’t live in ‘The Real World’. In fact, they occupied an entirely different space. In their realities, notions of whether something was acceptable or possible didn’t exist and as a result, there was nothing to clip their wings and prevent them from realising their unique destinies.

Could the same apply to you?

What could you achieve if you refused to accept the outlooks, attitudes and beliefs that hold so many people back?

Perhaps it’s a belief that you’re too old to pursue your dream and that you should be thinking about retirement and your pension fund. Perhaps it’s the notion that only a tiny percentage of people succeed when setting up their own business or pursuing their dream. Or perhaps it’s a belief that you have a terminal illness that simply can’t be healed.

Whatever it is, you must remember that these notions and beliefs have been imposed upon you – It’s ‘The Real World’ talking.

Reject them, and a world of your own creation, where happiness and fulfilment are within your grasp, is waiting for you to claim.

Over to You . . .

Have you ever been told to live in ‘The Real World’? Let us know about your experience in the comment section below.

Also, do you know anyone who spends too much time living in ‘The Real Word’? If so, then email them a link to this blog post and help them ‘unplug’.


(Image taken from Pascal’s photostream on flickr.com)

Liked this Post? Sign up to the blog below to get more.