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Gabriele Oettingen, an NYU psychologist, studied the curious mechanisms of wish fulfillment from inception to realization for over two decaades. It appears that the journey of wish fulfillment revolves four main protagonists: the dreamer, the dream, the fantasy, and the obstacle.
With the study having thousands of participants, she discovered that there was a pattern that people typically follow:
In Oettingen's finding with her research, she was shocked when she found out that the very images that allowed us to virtually live through our heart's desire actually had hampering effects on our realizations.
We then ask, "why would fantasizing about fulfilling a wish hinder the pursuit of the wish?" To which they reply, "that when we experience a mental attainment of our wish, in our mind's eye, we've already experienced the rewards of having achieve our dream which in turn makes people exert less energy and effort that's required to turn our wishes into reality."
By knowing the fact that fantasizing about our dreams have hampering effects, it can be offset by mental contrasting.
Mental contrasting gives us a healthy dose of reality even when we fantasize therefore giving us energy to pursue our dreams.
When we identify the obstacles that stood in the way of our wishes, our desired future is slowly being established because we're binding goals, intentions, and making the appropriate plans to move past hurdles to pursue our wishes.
Gabriele Oettingen's research bore this wish-fulfilment strategy called Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan, WOOP for short.
WOOP is a mental contrasting action where we place the four protagonists (the dreamer, the dream, the fantasy, and the obstacle) together in order to get to know one another before pursuing the journey. WOOP is a change agent that asks us:
W: What is it you really wish for?
O: What's the best possible outcome if it were to come true?
O: What obstacle is standing in the way?
P: What can you do to overcome this obstacle? Devise plans.
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