Is anything possible if only you believe in it?
There is a myth that belief can be translated into reality.
But can belief really be turned into reality?
Well, pop psychologists and their media supporters tell us daily that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.
I suppose it’s been part of Western culture for a very long time. We’ve had our giant killer stories for eons. They’re supposed to be inspirational.
Certainly, in the realm of personal growth we tell our children they can be anything they want to be if only they believe in themselves.
God knows media personalities keep showing us examples of rag to riches stories and stories of people who overcame adversity.
The thing is it’s not really true.
For every story of a little boy that worked hard to become a famous musician, there are ten thousand other little boys or girls that failed.
After all, it’s not just a matter of hard work or desire. You need talent and ability. And not everyone has talent and ability.
Think about it. Why would we celebrate great artists or athletes if talent was in everyone.
We see the same thing applied to other aspects of our lives – this is aspirational thinking.
There’s hardly a day that goes by without some politician promising to end poverty, bullying or save the planet, for example.
There are politicians who promise us we can run cities, states and entire countries on renewable energy in a matter of three decades.
These are aspirational goals, not practical goals.
We will never eliminate poverty or bullying.
We will never run the world on renewable energy.
So let’s stop pretending belief is all we need. Let’s understand this kind of thinking really is a carry-over from our ancestors’ magical thinking.
The big problem with aspirational thinking is that it raises expectations. If all we need to get the job done is a positive attitude and belief, well let’s get it done. There’s nothing standing in our way.
What happens, though, when harsh reality rears its ugly head?
Disappointment. Frustration. Anger.
We see this daily now. When people are confronted with reality, they become children stomping their feet.
Of course, the politicians and media are there to make a whole new set of promises.
That’s how it works. Promise. Fail. Promise. Repeat ad nauseum.