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Wishful thinking: Meaning & Examples

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Wishful thinking: Meaning

Our question of the day is from a student who asked what the expression “wishful thinking” means.

Wishful thinking is when there’s something you hope or want to happen… but the reality is that it probably won’t; it’s actually very unlikely.

Wishful thinking is TOO optimistic and not realistic. You’re thinking about something that’s very nice to imagine, but it’s not actually practical in real life.

Wishful thinking: Examples

Let me give you a couple examples of wishful thinking:

Someone who doesn’t have kids saying “when I have children, I’ll teach and train them so well that they’ll never misbehave in public” – wishful thinking, because in reality pretty much all kids will cry or disobey in public sometimes.

Someone who’s just starting to exercise setting a goal of losing 20 pounds (that’s about 10 kg) in their first month at the gym – wishful thinking, because in reality it doesn’t happen that fast.

Someone who has bought lottery tickets every week for the past 10 years thinking “I’ve been doing this so long, I’m sure to win the lottery soon!” – sorry, wishful thinking, winning the lottery is very unlikely even if you’ve tried for a long time.

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