I have been wishful of late. And that means I haven’t gotten anything done. I went to Wikipedia to ask, from the bowels of its knowledge, what wishful thinking actually meant and it gave me this nugget: it is thinking that is “….pleasing to imagine instead of…appealing to evidence, rationality, or reality.” You’ve seen this scene in a movie a hundred times: the character stares out the window, at other people, at life itself and thinks about how life could be and doesn’t do anything about it. Why? In my opinion and experience, doing things is hard. Putting yourself on the line, taking chances, setting the groundwork for something, practicing and perfecting-it is just not easy work. It is so much simpler to do your daily thing, get by, and dream about when life will just hand you the things you want-in fact, why don’t you just hand me my dream while I sit on bed watching Netflix? Yup, that would be great, thanks.
Sound familiar? I hope not, although it might. I have been living with wishful thinking as my constant companion for years. And guess what? No one offers you anything while watching movies on Netflix. In fact, the only thing it offers you is love handles and wear and tear on your mattress. I don’t think these create opportunities or fulfillment in life.
As I try to shake myself out of wishful thinking into more proactive doing, I realized that I didn’t want loose the dreaming and wondering part of my life. I can’t think of anything more depressing than a life devoid of dreaming. I honestly don’t think anyone would get anything done if they didn’t dream it first. If their heart wasn’t filled with a desire, a hope to be fulfilled, why would they do anything?
Hope. Hope is a very different friend than wishful thinking. Wishful thinking won’t pull you out of your slump, dust you off, and send you out into the world with renewed vigor. Hope will. Hope will cheer you on, give a you a pep talk, and see you through dark times into greatness. Hope uses reality as a basis for dreams. And if reality is part of your hopes and dreams, there is no reason why you can’t fulfill them. They are doable, they are reachable, they are in your grasp. Yes, it will take effort, but the finish line is ahead of you. You can’t see the finish line with wishful thinking, but you can with hope. You can run the race, and even if you don’t finish first or ever finish, the line is a reality, a goal that you set that could be attainted. Hope gives you clear eyes and willing muscles for the race ahead, wishful thinking clouds your vision and locks your knees so you can’t even begin the race.
Stop wishing, start hoping. Then do.