#1595 Areté +1° #36: WOOP! There It Is.

The Science of Making Your Dreams a Reality

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, one of my favorite micro-chapters from my new book, Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential, which has 1,000 pages packed with 451 of my all-time favorite ideas.

This is tied for first…


Gabriele Oettingen is a world-class researcher and Professor of Psychology at New York University. She’s spent her career studying the science of making your dreams a reality.

In her great book Rethinking Positive Thinking, she tells us that it’s not enough to simply visualize our ideal life vision-board style. Although it’s super important to start with a vision of our ideal lives, we then need to “rub it up against reality.”

She created something called “WOOP” to help us make our dreams a reality. Here’s the quick take:
W is for Wish
O is for Outcome (or benefits—kinda like the “why”)
O is for Obstacles
P is for Plan

So, start with the Wish. What do you want in life? If you could wave a wand and create anything (in general or specific to a particular goal/project) what would you hope to achieve?

Seriously. If you’re feeling it, do it right now. Think of the most important goal in your life right now. What is it?

Wave a wand. Everything goes perfectly. What do you achieve? Capture that in a few words. That’s your Wish.

Now, think about the Outcomes you will experience when that Wish is fulfilled.

Think of all the benefits achieving that Wish will bring to you. See it. FEEL IT. It’s super important to get really fired up about it.

Once we’ve got our Wish and Outcomes dialed in, it’s time to rub that vision up against reality.


What Obstacles will you face?

You’ve gotta KNOW you’re going to face Obstacles and KNOW you have what it takes to get over/under/across/through/whatever them.

Embrace reality so you can properly prepare for it and create the reality you want.

Once we’ve identified the Obstacles, we need to create our Plan. The heart of this is something called “implementation intentions”—which are a genius way to anticipate challenges and deal with them in advance. We’ll talk about them more in a moment.

For now: If X happens, then I will do Y.

What’s your Plan to deal with the Obstacles so you can experience the benefits of bringing your wish to life?

One more time…

WOOP = Wish. Outcome. Obstacles. Plan.

I WOOP everything—from big goals to my next meeting.

Science says: WOOP! There it is.

Here’s to making our dreams a reality.

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