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Goals and Wishes

November 27, 2011

Last week when I was at the Technical College, the teacher with whom I work brought in someone from a local “psychology center”. She was there to conduct a session on visualization.

I sat there while she explained to the students what they should do – use the magazines they were provided with to find photos of things that represent their goals, or something they want in life. For example, jewelry, money, a car, clothing, food (I do not recall a profession coming up – just things). This was step one.

While the students were working on that step, she came to me and asked if we do anything like this in the United States. I said I was not sure exactly what they were doing – as in, what is the point of the exercise. She explained that it is a visualization exercise, and that the students will attach the photos to paper and then leave them somewhere they live (I do not remember exactly where), and after a while, the things will come to them.

Wait, I said – you are telling them that by WISHING for something, it will come true? Kind of like what the book “The Secret” talks about?

She said basically yes. For example, if you want a car and wish for it hard enough, you will get a car.

At this point, I could not really agree with her. I told her that there are some people in the U.S. who do visualization exercises and have goals that they outline,  but that no one expects things to happen by magic (well, no one I know does). In general, I said, people in the U.S. know that simply wishing for things won’t make them happen, and that if someone wants to reach a goal, the person knows she has to work for it.

She told me she knows someone who learned about all of this in Thailand, and that the woman, since then, has been very successful and received things she wished for. All well and good, I said, but I expect it is because the woman works hard for the things, not because the things come by magic.

What was I experiencing yet again? Another cross-cultural moment. As Americans, we believe that we can achieve and acquire things, but we generally know that it is because of hard work, and that few of us reach our goals without such work (lottery winners excluded).

This incident did continue my thinking about these two cultures – the U.S. and Ukraine. It is not that I am not hit with cross-cultural differences every day, but in the past few weeks some big lessons keep coming up. Why is this happening? As of right now, I do not know. But I have to think that there is a reason for it, which will come to light soon enough.

Is that the same as wishing for a car and expecting it to appear? I don’t see it the same way at all. Sometimes the lessons I am meant to learn in life present themselves and it is not until later that I understand why they presented at that specific time. Perhaps I am still, after 21 months in this country, holding too tightly to some of my more American traits. Perhaps I am just meant to have a better understanding of this culture and others like it.

Whatever the reason, it will be clear in time. Until then, I will keep looking for more learning opportunities.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    November 27, 2011 9:57 am

    I read “The Secret” and the message I got from it is that if we put the energy out there through thought we make it happen. The extension of that is, of course, that the more we think of something the more we act on it ourselves and make it happen. So, we are essentially working for it as we are thinking about it.

  2. November 28, 2011 1:59 pm

    I have some Bulgarian heritage and understand this line of thinking.

    Another example is when folks from these cultures travel and they enjoyed the place that they visited very much, they would sit for a few moments, maybe with eyes closed and visualize that they would return to that place again in the future. Or, if they are leaving home, they will sit for contemplative moments to visualize returning home again after their trip. This is my direct experience and it feels understandable to me.

    Now in “wishing for a car” and such, perhaps it does help to visualize the possibility, but I also agree with you that it takes work and effort to capitalize on any opportunities to make it happen – should a person be visualizing frequently, perhaps they are also open to interpreting possibilities as well.

    Anyhow, just my 2cents worth and wanted to share the travel example.


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