The quiz

Are you in­clined to­wards wish­ful think­ing?

The Observer Magazine - - Dear Mariella - Rebecca McGuire-Snieckus

Be­low you will find a list of thoughts, feel­ings and be­hav­iour. In­di­cate the ex­tent to which they ap­ply to you on a scale from 0 (not at all) to 5 (com­pletely).

1. Above av­er­age in­tel­li­gence □

2. Things will work out in your favour □

3. Above av­er­age at­trac­tive­ness □

4. The worst is be­hind you □

5. Above av­er­age com­pas­sion □

Higher scores sug­gest a greater in­cli­na­tion to wish­ful think­ing.

‘There are two kinds of truth,’ ar­gued philoso­pher Got­tfried Leib­niz; ‘truths of rea­son­ing and truths of fact.’ ‘Hu­mans are not a ra­tio­nal an­i­mal,’ said so­cial psy­chol­o­gist Leon Festinger, ‘but a ra­tio­nal­is­ing one.’

Psy­cho­an­a­lyst Karen Hor­ney de­fined ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion as ‘self­de­cep­tion by rea­son­ing’. Ora­tor De­mos­thenes said: ‘Noth­ing is eas­ier than self­de­ceit. For what each man wishes, that he also be­lieves to be true.’

Weigh risks with ev­i­dence and chal­lenge op­ti­mistic ten­den­cies, es­pe­cially when the stakes are high. Ac­cord­ing to pub­lisher Mal­colm Forbes: ‘The best vi­sion is in­sight.’

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