Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

~ Robert Frost ~

Luckily Wishes Are Optional

August 17th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 7 secs

We are already lucky.

We are already lucky.

When I was a kid I considered being lucky was having an endless supply of sweets (candy). Plus, I longed for that other chestnut children fondly conjure: having 3 wishes.

But my friends and I figured we were clever because we worked out how to stop our imagined luck from ever running out. Simply make one of our wishes be for an endless list of wishes.

Quaint and silly as they may seem, as adults it’s easy to get stuck on the concept of luck. All the “if only” wishes people cling to possess many people’s thinking (as if screwing up eyes and fists hard enough could make them come true).  Like little ones, we are merely kids with years on us.

Back a few years ago, I vividly recall walking through seemingly endless rows of gambling machines within several Las Vegas hotels. By and large people appeared pretty miserable and the smoke filled atmosphere and tone looked decidedly low rent.

Funnily, I’ve seen that in Australia too, where slot machines (which, having once had a lever to pull, earned them the nickname of “one armed bandits”) are in every second pub.

According to research on gambling and happiness, those who win big actually don’t end up particularly happy as a consequence. Not that it necessarily ruins their life, mind you. It just doesn’t convert into that much satisfaction once all the “hoo-hah” has died down.

What we wish for (money, power, possessions, the affections of others, and so much more) is actually not strictly essential. But you, right now, living in relationships with all the folk who know you, are already doing important things (even if it is a lot more humble).

Wishing for more luck in life is a familiar theme. But the magical thinking behind it is only of worth for its ability to provide you with pleasing fantasies.

Like us longing for endless treats as littlies, wishing is pure escapist pleasure, not a catalyst to enrich living. Wishing to be a multi-millionaire, for instance, is fine. But unless someone is prepared to sacrifice an overwhelming proportion of life to have it, it’s an illusion. It could even be destructive.

Despite all the yearning in the world, endless self-indulgences never make a good life. Why? Because amidst daily realities what we wish for inevitably comes with consequences. Perhaps, for that reason, wishes are best kept in the fantasy realm where they can be wistfully enjoyed at will, and where no hint of responsibility ever needs to interfere.

So be prepared to enjoy wishes just as they are. Besides, luck is much less necessary than a love for life and a will to make the best of what you have to find delight. Indeed, wishing too much and not understanding the value of our reality is part of the reason people get caught up in a spiral of discontent.

What life requires over and above luck is appreciation. Because, if we have enough of it, life can often feel sweet enough already.

The Happy Ending That Nearly Killed Me

Wise Wishes

Lucky You


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