Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wishful Thinking

I'm not a particularly optimistic person. Whenever others wave a debonair hand and insist, "Oh, it'll all work out," I look at them with a jaundiced eye. Really? Why? 'Cause you said so? 

La-La Land. Some have vacation homes there. Others are full-time residents. Matters will end happily, just by believing it so. 
Yet I don't think that being negatively realistic is the way, either. When it comes to matters within my control—yes, I try to be on top of things. Skincare (to prevent wrinklage), sleep (to ensure sanity), grocery shopping (to keep healthy), and so on. But "getting real" about other matters isn't particularly helpful. Like trying to winkle out one's soulmate.

Gabrielle Oettingen's "The Problem With Positive Thinking":
Why doesn’t positive thinking work the way you might assume? As my colleagues and I have discovered, dreaming about the future calms you down, measurably reducing systolic blood pressure, but it also can drain you of the energy you need to take action in pursuit of your goals.
The more sanguine women were about their weight loss goals, the less weight they lost. But it's not about being cruelly realistic, either. That also drains us of energy. A fatalistic "What for?", if you will. 

The key is to balance the two with "mental contrasting." See the goal in your mind's eye, bright and shining. Oh, it looks so pretty. Now, see what's in the way. Is it possible to remove or lessen those roadblocks? Yes? 
Can we do it? YES WE CAN! 
When participants have performed mental contrasting with reasonable, potentially attainable wishes, they have come away more energized and achieved better results compared with participants who either positively fantasized or dwelt on the obstacles.
When participants have performed mental contrasting with wishes that are not reasonable or attainable, they have disengaged more from these wishes. Mental contrasting spurs us on when it makes sense to pursue a wish, and lets us abandon wishes more readily when it doesn’t, so that we can go after other, more reasonable ambitions.
Interesting. If one sees that the goal is not gonna happen, then one wants it less, and moves on to something that can be attained. 

I wonder how that could apply to my dating life. 

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