A common theme among self-help teachings and new age spiritual ideas, such as The Secret, is that you have the power within you to make your “dreams” come true by focusing your mental energy, your “intent” on them. Then, they will come to you. But some new research claims that doing so can actually make you less likely to achieve what you wish for.
The research says that fantasizing about achieving goals makes you less likely to achieve them because it drains the energy you need to pursue them. I think the research is as flawed and distorted as The Secret and similar teachings, but for very different reasons. Let’s take a look.
This study, from New York University’s Motivation Lab, found that “positive fantasies” predict poor achievement because they don’t generate the energy to pursue the desired future. That is, if you create idealized images of future outcomes, your fantasized ambitions are less likely to become reality. That’s because positive fantasies are de-energizing.
The research contains so many confused ideas and faulty assumptions that it’s hard to know where to begin. But it does, indirectly, open a door to understanding some important elements for turning your goals into reality. Continue reading