Be careful what you wish for

You know the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for”?

In the weeks since I got back from my cycling vacation in Spain last month, I’ve been saying to people — with great conviction — “I want to spend less time in front of my computer.”

Now, what I meant was, I want to spend more of my time out in nature or interacting with people face to face, and less of it sitting in front of a computer. Here’s how it played out: on the flight back to Paris, I spilled water on my computer and the battery stopped charging. And so, for a week, while it was in for repair (something that’s happened maybe once or twice in 20 years of using a laptop) I definitely got to spend less time in front my computer.

It was a painful but valuable reminder: our words, whether we’re saying them consciously or not, create our reality — sometimes more literally than we might like.

All day, every day, we’re unconsciously “wishing for” things — with seemingly innocuous statements that sound like facts:
These meetings are a waste of time.
It’s not easy to get funding.
I always get sick with the change of seasons.
It’s impossible to find an affordable apartment in [expensive city].
It’s hard to get a C-suite role from a director level.
I don’t have time to meditate [to exercise, to read, to visit my sister].
My work is stressing me out.
I don’t have many opportunities to speak French.

And yet, even though we can find plenty of people who would agree with us, these are simply beliefs, not facts.

So try this to bring more intentionality to your words. Add “I wish” to the beginning and see if you still want to say it. I wish it weren’t easy to get funding. I wish it were impossible to find an affordable apartment. I wish my work was stressing me out.

If not, add “I wonder if” to the beginning and tweak the rest. I wonder if these meetings could be more productive. I wonder if I could find time to exercise.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to step away from my computer and find someone to speak French with… 😉