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Magical Thinking

Have you stepped on the gas because you knew you could make it through a traffic light and received a photo-radar ticket in the mail?

That’s called cognitive distortion or, magical thinking.

Baseball players are notorious for wearing the same socks every day; even taking the exact same route to the ballpark during a winning streak like that will influence the outcome of a game.

Comforting thoughts to be sure, but good hitting, pitching and fielding is what gets the job done.

Need a couple bucks? Try scratching the palm of your hand because an old adage says, “an itchy palm means you will come into money.”

Do you buy lottery tickets and keep them in a ’lucky’ pocket, purse or drawer? How is that working out?

By definition, magical thinking is a type of distorted thinking––a thought pattern gone wrong––a belief that thoughts influence and produce outcomes. Magical thinking can be positive or negative. It can be a source of comfort or it can provide a false sense of control when people feel distressed and out of control. 

Excuse me, if you feel out of control the last thing you need is false hope. 

Dieters are famous for magical thinking. “Once I lose a few pounds, I’ll feel more attractive. I just know I’ll meet someone.” Sorry, lady that’s a pipe dream––even if supportive friends agree and nod their heads up and down. With their encouragement you begin dieting and lose a few pounds. You even get a new hairdo. A month or two goes by without being swept off your feet and you begin to wonder, where is my dreamboat? You are confused. I’m down two sizes, what’s going on? 

Meanwhile, the hunk of your dreams is out jogging and pumping iron for better body tone but he hangs in sports bars watching ballgames and you’re at a spa. 

Let’s face it; magical thinking can lead a person down a rabbit hole. You wait for an unknown to appear and rescue or protect you from certain dangers, illnesses or occurrences. 

Hard core believers rarely, if ever, seek medical or psychological treatment. They believe their prayer or displaced thought will lead to healing or winning. But it won’t. 

Magical thinking can comfort us and prayer can calm us. Then we can work more productively. Make no mistake ‘Wishing will not make it so.’

If you want to run the 10K you have to prepare. If you are ill you have to see a doctor. If you want your life to be fulfilling you have to work at it. 

To experience something really magical, go see a David Copperfield show. 

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