virgin islands scene

What you need remains hidden where you least want to look.
-- Jordan B. Peterson


Wednesday, November 22, 1995

Make a Wish

Bale of hay
Bale of hay
Make a wish
And look away.

"What does that mean?"

"You make a wish and don’t ever look at the hay again. Then your wish will come true."

"How do you know?"

"My grandma told me."

"Did you make a wish?"

"Yeah. It hasn’t come true yet. But it will... My gradma’s wish came true. But you can’t tell what it is or it won’t come true."

I overheard this conversation yesterday on a school bus filled with second graders. We were going on a field trip to a working pioneer farm, where the kids got to grind corn, milk a cow, and experience what life was like a hundred years ago in central Texas. We were driving past fields where hay had been cut and pressed into large, round bales.

The young girls were seriously discussing the possibility of wishes coming true. They really believed that their wish would come true if they followed the right procedure.

I was struck by the refreshing, naive innocence of their belief. There was no doubt in their minds that wishes would come true. At the thinking level it is of course not in line with reality. We seasoned adults know that merely wishing for something does not make it happen. And yet, there was something in the matter-of-factness of these girls that was truly captivating.

For children, anything is possible. Life and youth are eternal. Their young minds have not yet learned about limitations. In fact, their minds are very open and free. Hearing them talk made me wonder -- how many of our limits are real, and how many are self-imposed? Children can see things that we can’t, simply because they’re not blinded by years of experience. When we don’t get our way, time after time, when the things we wish for don’t ever happen, then experience begins to tell us that wishes can’t come true. And then something very tragic happens. We stop making those wishes.

The sad thing is, that just about the time when we have the resources and the abilities to make our own wishes come true, we give up on wishing at all. As a result, all our sensible practicality goes to waste. We are in touch with “reality", we are competent and skilled, but we don’t have any reason to use our skills. Without wishes, we end up working to satisfy someone else’s wishes.

No, wishes don’t come true just because we wish them. They can come true, though. And they do. And the first step in making them come true is to have them in the first place.

We all know of the importance of goals. Goals begin with wishes. Goals are basically wishes that are written down and remembered. It is impossible to develop effective goals without desire. Oh, you can stick a lot of platitues together and call them goals. Real, meaningful, effective goals come from desire -- and that means wishing.

Don’t be afraid of wishes. Seek them out and then formalize them as goals. Don’t set goals just to look good, or because you think you should have what everyone else has. Look inside of yourself. Look back at yourself as a second-grader and remember what it was like to wish for something. To really want it so much that you’d do anything to get it. That’s the kind of wish that will give you the focus and determination you need to move forward in your life.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1995 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.