Monday, November 22, 2010

Faith versus Wishful thinking

They say with the faith as little as mustard seeds you can move mountains but with wishful thinking you posses the irrevocable conviction that you can actually move mountains without any feasible effort. The major difference between faith and wishful thinking is when what we were hoping for becomes reality, and then we conclude the individual had faith. So whatever moves us that we believe is faith, might as well be wishful thinking and vice versa. The question now is, is it possible to distinguish a belief held together by faith or wishful thinking? 

My friend once told me the story of a man who got bored of poverty. He introspected about his life and concluded it wasn’t going anywhere and decided he needed to make a change. The decision he made that day was to own a car, how? He had no idea. This was a guy who had no reason to fear thieves because quite frankly, there was nothing worth stealing. He got decent clothes to wear that day and walked to a car dealership and with all the confidence he could muster demanded to buy a jeep that was on display. It was a very expensive jeep and also one of a kind at the dealership. The manager was glad of the sale he was going to make that day. The jeep exterior was dusty and the manager demanded he stayed in the waiting room while it was cleaned up. This man sat there as they prepared the car for him while he had nothing on him except the faith/wishful thinking of being a car owner that day. Minutes later a man drove into the dealership with his wife, it was her birthday and he decided to spoil her with a gift, a car. He asked her to select any vehicle she wanted and he would pay for it. Coincidentally, her heart went for the same jeep the man had selected which was still being cleaned up. She walked up to the manager and he explained the situation, the car had been purchased and the new owner was inside. This woman persisted, it was her birthday and no one would turn her down especially on ‘her birthday present’. The husband had to intervene; he wasn’t going to let his wife feel down on her birthday so he called for the buyer. The manager had to call the man to meet the couple, the husband pleaded with the man that had nothing in the first place to let go of the jeep and in exchange he would purchase any other car for him at the dealership. It became the man was affluent and would go any length to please his wife. That was how the man who was bored of poverty got a more expensive car. At least that was how I was told. The point I was trying to convey is how difficult it is to strike a difference between wishful thinking and faith.

During my final session in the University of Lagos there were a handful of students with great conviction that they were going to perform beyond expectations that session. Those concerned were students who wanted to graduate with a decent cumulative grade point average and it would mean having grade point averages they never had in their previous three years. The difference with this and the story illustrated above is that this one had to do with personal effort, not luck, not chance. I can say most of them didn’t get what they hoped for (not that they didn’t deserve it) but they worked hard. Let’s disregard the outcome and focus on the effort which was the hard work they put in, was it led by faith or wishful thinking of performing well. If it was faith then it was possible to be motivated by faith without getting what you want. If so, what makes faith different from wishful thinking when you consider outcomes? When you can have faith and never get what you want.

In my life, I have had huge aspirations which might as well be grandiose delusions. I want to be the best I can be which might as well be the best there is and I am working towards it. Now what should I use to keep my dream alive, faith or wishful thinking. With faith I see any failure as a stepping stone and I keep moving. Wishful thinking allows me similar outcome but different feelings. I simple go to bed and allow myself day dream of my goal and feel good throughout. I guess I will need both, faith to hold me together while wishful thinking to guide me towards being a multi-award winning…


1 comment:

  1. I love this line in your article: "The major difference between faith and wishful thinking is when what we were hoping for becomes reality, and then we conclude the individual had faith."