Be careful what you wish for…

February 23, 2018
(From left) Me, Grace, Yiing Yee and Yu He
Grace, Yiing Yee, Yu He and I knew each other for nearly a decade. We are geeky researchers. We like to wander in the city. We like to read and think. We like topics that other girls might think boring and serious. We are introverts...

... and we have another thing in common - we had a difficult 2017.

Grace was struggling to graduate from her Master’s degree due to some ridiculous problems. Her admin job was challenging and repetitive. While sorting piles of papers and letters seem like a good job, what she truly love is art and design.

Yu He was juggling a million things. She’s a scientist who studies one of the rarest subjects in the country. Her husband Ronald, a passionate fitness trainer, just started a gym business. Entrepreneurship, marriage, money, career, family, and science - you can imagine how many things she had on her to-do list.

Yiing Yee was experiencing a bottleneck in her research project. Her health and financial status were at stakes too. We would sigh and feel anxious when we met up for lunch and shared our problems. The stress was enormous.

As for myself, I was hit by a financial crisis. To add salt to the wound, I was grieving for a broken relationship, literally with my then-partner, but honestly, a broken relationship with myself. I felt distressed and lost, constantly questioning myself, my future and my value. 

At that time, we were desperate to get out of the rut. It wasn't fun. 

Fast forward one year later, guess what? All the big problems seem to work out pretty well.

Grace graduated from her Master’s degree. She is working on a new job that allows her artistic-cum-creative side to flourish. Yu He’s life is still hectic as ever, but she's adapting. Her husband’s new gym business is taking off and she surprised us with good news - she is expecting a baby! 

Yiing Yee’s PhD project is coming to an end. She met a brilliant mentor for her project, and her health is improving. My own research is fine, I got to be involved in exciting writing projects, and I am in a relationship with a good guy. 

Amazing, huh? I feel unreal. 

Of course we work very hard to solve problems and reach our goals. We strive and hustle. But when I hear the girls talking, there is always one or two points in the stories that seem illogical, sometimes almost miraculous. I'm thinking, "What...? Is this magic, sorcery or what?" 

Sometimes it's an opportunity, sometimes it's a person or an idea - as if somebody knows you need something and send it. It's like a door just open, and then magic happens.

Grace made me this dreamcatcher years ago for my birthday, maybe it does... work?
When I heard about The Secret, Law of Attractions, Manifestation, Positive Thinking... I thought it was purely bullshit. Come on, I’m a rational scientist, but a researcher needs to find proof to make a conclusion. 

After reading some scientific reports and psychological analyses, I understand that what we think will indeed affect our action and hence the outcome. 

"Apparently our mind is busy processing millions of information each day, but most of them aren’t particularly useful. The part of your brain in charge of what gets in is the reticular activating system (RAS). Affirmations allow you to hack into your RAS and turn your brain’s focus to your dreams and aspirations." For more detailed explanation on why affirmations work, check out this post.

The theory seemed legit, I was determined to do an experiment myself. 

My method is simple. I have a red notebook that I bring with me everywhere I go. I draw, sketch and scribble all my ideas and wishes, no matter big or small, in this notebook. For example, I wrote that I want to work for premium clients for my writing projects. I wrote that I want to have a healthy and stable relationship. I wrote that I want to pay off my car loan. 

I look at my notes occasionally. Some ideas are ridiculous, some are hilarious, some are interesting, but I give them space to flourish in my notebook without any judgement, fear or doubt. The worst thing you can do to your vision is to second guess yourself, telling yourself a million reasons why this or that will not work. Believe it or not, some of them came true within a year.

“As time passes and life unfolds, things you initially swatted away like a distraction can reveal depth and become unimaginably important.

That cliché you ignored like a throwaway fortune cookie? Suddenly it makes sense and moves mountains.” 

That's how I feel.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” - another popular line from the wildly successful book "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo. After a series of experiments and active discussion, my skeptic friends and I conclude that this line is true. The universe is indeed listening to us. And it will send us the right opportunity at the right time. 

Cool and weird at the same time, right? Why don’t you try it yourself? There are many methods to do this. 

The famous cartoonist Scott Adams called his method the affirmations practice, “The idea behind affirmations is that you simply write down your goals 15 times a day and somehow, as if by magic, coincidences start to build until you achieve your objective against all odds.” Some people swear by the vision board method. I personally use this one by Debbie Millman. Some people talk to themselves in the mirror. Some people associate this with religion, the idea of "God" and other higher power. They perform specific rituals to convey their dreams. Any method is fine, just do it and see what happens.

Make a wish, you just might get it.

Have a good week! 

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