It would be so wonderful if I just needed to spend a couple of minutes every day visualizing my desires to make them a reality.
Perhaps it would only take a few hours of picturing my dream house (spread out over a couple of years) to manipulate the universe into delivering my new expensive pad. What an excellent deal – screw working for a living.
The problem with this shortcut to riches is that it doesn’t work. I know because I’ve been trying to use magical thinking for years.
The Power of Prayer
I’m not a believer in any particular god, but I like to imagine there is something in charge of this wonderful ride we call life. I’ll admit my willingness to believe in this unseen force is closely related to my level of desperation at the time.
There have been many occasions over the last couple of years when I’ve begged the universe to give me a break. Just one tiny miracle – ideally it would involve a ton of money, so I could become a man of leisure.
My flirtations with the gods of the universe haven’t produced any staggering successes up until now. If I’m honest, I’d have to say that my attempts to ingratiate myself with these invisible forces have only made things worse – perhaps begging for a handout pisses them off?
I’ve come close to giving up on prayer completely until it dawned on me that I’d being going about things the wrong way. I’d been begging for ‘manna from heaven’ when what I really needed was the motivation to get off my arse and get my own manna.
Instead of expecting the universe to deliver like Amazon, I’ve changed my tactics. I no longer ask for freebies but instead for the motivation and skills to get what I need – so far this approach has been 100 per cent successful (thanks God if you are up there).
Magical Thinking as Learned Helplessness
It wouldn’t be so bad if magical thinking was merely ineffective – the problem is that this passiveness makes me less likely to achieve anything. It leads to form of learned helplessness. Instead of taking action to fix my life, I’m waiting for something effortless and magical to happen.
The only thing I get from sitting around and waiting for the universe to sort out my life is a sore arse. The world is organized in such a way that those individuals who are willing to show a bit of gumption reap the rewards.
The real irony in all of this is that it is the struggle to turn my dreams into reality where I find the most satisfaction in life. If magical thinking worked, the world would quickly become an incredibly dull place.
The Real Secret to Success
The only way to become rich from magical thinking is to write books about it. The world is full of people like me looking for a short-cut to success, and we are willing to hand over our cash for a bag of beans less wonderful than the ones given to Jack.
The key to achieving dreams is simple, but it is often not the answer we are looking for – it sounds much more difficult than ordering the universe around by means of a vision board. The secret to success can be summed up in this single sentence:
We become willing to do what most other people are never going to do.
Life can feel incredibly unsatisfying when we wait for our desires to materialize out of thin air. When we are not willing to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals, we achieve very little – no wonder we get depressed.