I wish that…

The other night I took my fiancé out for dessert and as I sat happily eating tiramisu, she looked up from her chocolate mud cake and said ‘I wish that..’

At that moment, a few quick sparks shot through my mind and a thought formed.

We all make wishes. We wish for a better job, more money, a bigger house, a flatter stomach, better weather, health, a beautiful partner, safety, world peace, equality, an end to suffering and the list goes on and on and on. A wish is wanting a shift from the current position to another; struggle to wealth, sickness to health, sad to happy. How many wishes have we made up until this point? How many birthday candles extinguished, falling stars dreamed upon and eyelashes gently blown off fingertips?

Have we really thought this process through?

Perhaps our wishes are being granted, but the process is random and limited. Rather than asking which we would prefer, the genie picks a wish out of a hat and the chance of any one wish being selected is relative to the number of wishes it contains. If we have 1000 wishes in there, what are the chances of a worthy selection? Is the hat full of high quality wishes we really desire or is it diluted by frivolous, meaningless wishes that were made in a moment of weakness. Maybe at a time when circumstances existed that was not to our liking or didn’t meet our expectations. Like a cold and rainy day on a beach holiday — ‘I wish it was warmer’. There may be an opportunity cost component to wishing that we have been neglecting, as each wish may lower the chances of an alternative being granted.

Imagine someone that you consider successful. What wishes have got them there? I wish I had this skill, I wish to meet this person, I wish this deal goes through, I wish for a bit of luck, I wish for… Imagine that their actual success was determined by a focused wishing practice where each wish aimed them down a particular path. This meant that all of the wishes in the hat were consciously invested so that any one wish chosen for granting was definitely one that furthered their journey. Sounds ludicrous right?

Everyone realises that for the most part, success in anything does not depend on wishing. It depends on ideas, development and action. It takes patience, control, direction, knowledge, movement, training, practice, failure, learning, discomfort and numerous other skills. It takes work.

Most of our wishes are directed at things that either we cannot change, such as the weather — or another person. Things we are impatient to get or for which we are unwilling to invest energy, such as our fitness level or financial security, also claim a number of wishes. If we prioritise our wishlist by sorting it into categories and doing a little research on each we may better understand what is going on.

Perhaps headings like: what we can affect, what is valueless to our big picture, and what we feel we have no power over would be suitable sub-categories. Once listed. the things we can affect, we attempt to do. The useless we drop. And, the things we can’t affect, we accept and then possibly find value in them as they are.

I will assume that most, if not all wishes, are inherently selfish by nature. We wish for power, prestige, respect, attractiveness, material items and social status. We wish that others will move so that we don’t have to. We wish for our side to win and our position improved. We wish to succeed in all we do. We wish for the world to be different, less volatile, less risky and more peaceful.

In uncertain economic times, the desire for stability increases. Wishing for company success, government saviours, changes in culture or institution is probably not an effective use of our time. Neither is denial, distraction or ignorance to these areas. To move from one position to another with a certain amount of accuracy, intention is required. ‘I intend to…’. But as we know ‘the smallest deed is better than the greatest intention’. The smallest deed meaning: action. Not just any action though, action with a conscious intention to move in a specific direction. It doesn’t mean that we are forever tied to this path and without it we have failed, just that it is a directed movement away from a starting point. Once moving, options increase and as knowledge deepens and widens, the course can be adjusted. If we are looking for cultural, country or global movement, it takes the concerted effort of many hands working together with each hand knowing it has a certain responsibility to uphold as an individual.

This is obviously a little tongue in cheek but consider two things:

1) When we make a wish for the sun, growth also requires the rain.
2) Be careful what you wish for, as you might just get what you ordered.

My current wishlist? I wish for the strength to accept the responsibility of my experience, the power to help those I can, the ability to challenge my understanding and the courage to know and be myself. And just in case none of my wishes ever get granted, I will work hard to improve myself each day so that I may continually bring some value to this world.

Oh, and my fiancé wished that she could always be this happy. Good mud cake can do that to a person.

What do you wish for and what will you do about it?

Taraz Kanti-Paul