“Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.”

Tim Ferriss

It’s everywhere around me, more common than wet slush that clings to cars in the winter, and about as annoying. Have no idea why so many people think it’s useful. But they sure indulge with disconcerting ease. 

Wishful thinking. 

Why? I mean, what is the point of even believing it might be useful for anything other than preventing silence from making us all happier? 

Wishful thinking is passive. It doesn’t do anything, and that’s if you’re lucky. Because here’s the thing: it’s actually worse than useless. It’s victim-talk of a kind that gives its sufferers the false impression they are doing something to make themselves into a better person when in fact they are not. It’s like a guardrail made of crepe paper. Mildly attractive on the surface because it looks reassuring and safe, but if you rely on it you’re doomed.

There is a lot more wishful thinking around than you’d assume at first glance, especially when you agree that yes, we shouldn’t really rely on guardrails made of crepe paper. But we’ve all done the idiotic thing of leaning on it anyway. We’ve all fallen prey to its allure at one point or another in our lives (very much including myself here), and I suppose that’s fair enough. Nobody’s perfect. 


Some people elevate an occasional moment of weakness to the status of constant companion. They make a lifestyle out of thinking wishfully. And then are all surprised and bitter when they realize life is totally unfair to them.

It makes me want to scream, and not in a good way. 

Wishful thinking is wanting to be fit but not exercising enough. Wanting to lose weight but scarfing cookies. Hoping someone will like them but never telling the other person how they feel. Dreaming of a raise but not wanting to bring it up with the boss. Longing for more sex but and sulking about it instead of initiating a conversation (or, you know, losing that spare tire and getting a fresh haircut).

We sit and fantasize about a better life in only. That’s what wishful thinking is; a big giant if only.

And when the miracle you wish for predictably fails to materialize, you retreat further. You watch porn. Eat more cookies. Stop exercising. Because what’s the point of trying it’s doomed anyway so why not embrace sugary crumbs on the keyboard that might or might not fall into the massive indent that lardy behind left on the tattered IKEA chair.

That’s balderdash. All of it.

When you want something to be different, you have to change it yourself. Sitting there waiting for someone else to do things that are advantageous to you is, to put it gently, spectacularly pointless. Your partner will not guess what you want. Your boss won’t offer you anything unless it’s to his advantage to do so. Your weight won’t come down unless you drastically change your eating habits.

People don’t do things for you. That’s because they’re too wrapped up in wishing for you to do something for them instead. You need to do it yourself. Whatever it is you want, you have to get it for yourself.

Also? Cookies don’t make you thin.