Positive expectations can make a world of difference in your ability to attract what you want. Richard J. Wiseman, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, showed that a positive, constructive attitude enables people to discover how to really open their eyes to the opportunities around them. When they start expecting the best, they find themselves naturally developing their own creative and intuitive skills in ways that immediately help transform their lives and experiences.
Many people try very hard to be realistic and objective about life. And given the number of email scams, pyramid sales schemes and con artists in the world, this can be a very wise approach. If you receive an email announcing that you’ve just won a lottery in Mexico, and you’ve never been to Mexico, much less bought a lottery ticket there, it’s probably safe to assume you can delete the email without even opening it. But the problem is, being realistic and objective isn’t always as easy and straightforward as that. Many people who think of themselves as ‘realists’ actually behave like pessimists. And pessimists often end up distrusting other people, being cynical about relationships, and ultimately letting opportunities pass them by.
Professor Richard Wiseman conducted some fascinating research into how your attitude can affect your life. All the volunteers were asked, as part of the vetting process, to indicate whether they considered themselves ‘lucky’ (‘things often turn out well for me’), or ‘unlucky’ (‘things often go wrong for me’). They were all given a copy of a newspaper and asked to count how many pictures were in the paper. On one of the pages of the paper was a notice in large print. It read: “Stop counting and tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.”
Significantly more of the ‘lucky’ people noticed this message than the so-called ‘unlucky’ ones.
Wiseman suggests that people who expect the best are both more relaxed and more open to opportunities. People who expect the worst can be more anxious and tense, which actually interferes with their ability to notice new possibilities. And sometimes, allowing yourself to dream about utterly unrealistic possibilities, like what you would do in life if you had unlimited wealth, can produce very creative ideas that you can realistically put to use.
Because, when you think about it, much of what has come about in the last one hundred years would have seemed quite impossible to the skeptics along the way. People scoffed at the concept of television, ridiculed the idea of flying machines, and called the notion of travelling to the moon ‘science fiction’. But the people behind these innovations dared to believe when others doubted them. Now you may not plan on being an inventor, but what aspects of your life have you not dared to believe in yet? How much better could your relationships, your work, or your quality of life be if you allowed yourself to believe more in the possibilities that are available to you?