active wishingIf I have learned anything in my 42 years to date, it is that making a wish often doesn’t have the exact effect I was going for when I made it.

For instance, when I make a wish, assuming my part is done the moment the words have passed my lips (or emptied out of my mind) is both naive and fruitless. I can use wishing for patience as an example. My mentor has often jokingly warned me against wishing (she usually uses the word “praying” instead) for patience, reminding me that what I am likely to then receive is endless opportunities to learn how to be patient. Unfortunately, she is always right.

In the same way, if I decide to make a wish for more money, a more understanding mate, a quieter place to live, a bird who doesn’t jump into my scrambled eggs….well, what happens next? In the past, I have treated wish-making like genie lamp-rubbing. I make the wish, and the end result appears.

That is, um, wishful thinking. EXTREMELY wishful thinking.

What in fact will appear at the very moment I finish making my wish is the start of the process of fulfilling that wish. So let’s take my avian scrambled-egg hurdler as an example. Making the wish, “I wish Pearl would keep her claws out of my scrambled eggs” is just my wake-up call to myself that I would like something to change. Specifically, I want to eat my own scrambled eggs, from my own plate, without having to first extract feathers and dander or section off a pile for her personal use.

So next, I then have to start working on facilitating the realization of my own wish.

For instance, I can make a bit of extra scrambled eggs and give them to her on her own small plate. I can eat while she is distracted by something shiny. I can eat scrambled eggs for dinner instead of breakfast (thereby ensuring she will likely be asleep at the time). I can stop eating scrambled eggs altogether. There are many paths, any of which might be likely to work, to help me get from Point A, the “wish recognition” stage, to Point Z, the “wish fulfillment stage”.

This is an easy example, of course. Wishing for more money might entail going back to graduate school, changing careers, moving to a different city or more. Wishing for a more understanding mate might include counseling, a divorce, or first becoming more understanding myself. Wishing for a quieter place to live might require moving or expensive soundproofing (or both).

I love that statistic about how the person who writes down their goals is the one who is about a thousand percent more likely to achieve those goals. In the same way (a wish basically being a goal in this scenario) the person who makes an active rather than a passive wish is much more likely to one day celebrate that wish coming true.

Today’s Takeaway: Are you an active or a passive wish-maker? Can you look back over your life to date and see any examples of wishes that have come true or haven’t come true? If so, are there any correlations between whether the wish came true and how much effort you were willing or able to put into making that happen?

Wish in hand photo available from Shutterstock