Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality or reality.
Wishful thinking might be the most underrated self-destructive force on the planet.
I think most people, when they hear the term "wishful thinking," they understand that it's a dangerous thing.
But has there been any great definition of it? Wikipedia's is too weighty to be thought of quickly.
Here's mine: Thinking an effect will or could happen without a cause.
When something isn't as good as you want in your life, it's tempting to just want things to get better. But, it's dangerous to entertain that notion blindly. Hope and faith are amazingly powerful and useful forces, but much better when combined with a bias for action and a little planning.
If you have an outcome you want -- don't just fantasize about the outcome. Think, "What could cause that?" And then start trying that stuff.
I got a great email from a reader asking my thoughts on where he's at in life. He studied and worked in the USA, and went back to his home country to try to improve it... but he's having problems achieving all his goals with the culture there, and is thinking this through a lot. I like my response and I'm sharing it here - I edited out his personal details before posting this.
Good email. Tough questions.
First, I massively respect your point of view. It's interesting, isn't it? Whether you should focus on success -> change stuff, or try to do both at the same time... maybe both? Funny, I just wrote a blog post about this yesterday, but haven't posted it yet. I'm attaching it - "BLOG Ambitious Conundrum.txt" - some questions about how much to train, and how much to produce right away. Maybe it's relevant.
I guess the biggest question is, what's your main goal in life? What do you live and breathe for? Professionally, I'm working to be the greatest strategist of this generation. (It'll take me another 20+ years, but I think I've got a realistic shot at it) On a family level, I'm looking to build an international dynasty, a family like the Medici, Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Tokugawa, something like that.
Those goals come first and second, then I have other goals related to service, making change in the world, being a guardian of society, doing science, doing things professionally, etc. For me, I try to make my actions serve my larger roles.
As I've been immersing myself in poker, I've been overwhelmed by the parallels with pickup, in theory, practice, and in my experience as a student.
I'm not sure if this is pure coincidence, my mind trying to find a pattern where there's not one, or a genuine underlying pattern that probably extends to other areas of learning.
Pickup is the only other thing I can think of that I learned rapidly and by immersion. I made it my world for a year or two. As a result, I remember the learning process, whereas something like web development I can't really remember because I've been learning gradually.