Whoop it up with WOOP

by Christopher Lovejoy on March 4, 2018

My previous four posts on being worthy and capable authors of this world ran deep and heavy, and so, by way of compensation, I now feel called to write a piece that is light on the mind and the heart.

I will leave it to you to read as much depth into it as you care to do.

Incidentally, or perhaps not so incidentally, I also added multiple series of posts to my Resources page, including a series of 11 consecutive posts that explores my take (from a sacred masculine perspective) on what it means to connect with the divine feminine spirit, to give the Goddess her due.

I am also updating my Context page, shifting from a social focus to a more personal focus.


How do you envision the life of your dreams? Who do you wish to be? What do you wish to do? As you begin to see the life of your dreams take shape, what do you imagine is coming true for you?

Current wisdom would have you get a clear visual of your deepest, dearest dream or desire, immerse yourself in the emotion connected to this dream or desire, and set your intention with access to the Field to have it manifest at a time in a space that aligns with the summum bonum.

But what if you desire a more practical approach to fulfilling a wish?

Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation is a book about, to quote the author, “wishes and how to fulfill them. It draws on twenty years of research in the science of motivation. And it presents a single, surprising idea: the obstacles that we think most impede us from realizing our deepest wishes can actually hasten their fulfillment” (italics mine), which raises interesting questions.

What is holding me back from living my wish?

What is stopping me from going for the gold?

The research on wish fulfillment is showing us something quite interesting and surprising: if you positively visualize or fantasize about your wish or dream come true, this is clearly beneficial, but if this is all you do, it very much reduces your motivation, setting you up for disappointment.

Positivity, in and of itself, is not enough (purveyors of The Secret got this one wrong it seems). The simple act of positive visualization, no matter how creative and well-intentioned, puts you at risk of relaxing your expectation, of reducing your blood pressure and reducing your performance.

Tricking your brain into thinking that you have it will keep you from having it.

So, what can we do instead? More to the point, what must we do instead?


The act of mental contrasting, donning a pair of clear glasses in lieu of rose-colored glasses, generates motivational energy; if I truly wish to fulfill my wish, I would do well to identify any obstacles that I think might show up on my path, so that these obstacles can become the way.

I am well advised to ask myself: in visualizing my desired outcome, which obstacles have the potential to distract, discourage, or derail me along the way to realizing my outcome and fulfilling my wish?

Those who engage in mental contrasting have been shown to outperform those who do not, with this caveat: if they do not believe they can realize their desired outcome or if they do not believe they can fulfill their wish, they do worse than those who merely fantasize about it.

Here, a quick three-step process presents itself for our consideration:

  1. believe: if a desired outcome feels too big, too scary, break it down
  2. visualize: motivation and performance suffer if all you do is fantasize
  3. contrast: for obstacles to energize, you must believe in the outcome

Incidentally, or perhaps not so incidentally, this process can help you run your wishes through the filter of yay or nay to see if your desired outcome is feasible or even attainable. If neither, then you still have the option to disengage and start over with another juicy wish.


The research on setting what is called “the implementation intention” is solid and true.

Truly, it is all well and good for you to have a juicy wish and it is all well and good for you to have a delicious outcome, one that you know will fulfill your juicy wish, but if all you do is anticipate a series of obstacles arising that stand in your way, then … well, … good luck with that.

In the light of this caveat, it is prudent to ask ourselves: what am I going to do if or when a certain obstacle blocks my path? What am I going to do if this obstacle depletes me or if that obstacle discourages me? For any and every conceivable obstacle, what is my plan B?

Helpful hint: plan A is moving around an obstacle on your path with grace and ease.

Here’s the formula: if ___ (fill in the blank) occurs, then I will ___ (fill in the blank).

For example, if … I feel unduly distracted while absorbed in my work, then … I will do one or more of the following: move to another location, insert a pair of earplugs, and/or insert a pair of earbuds and play some music that complements my work, before resuming the work.

Implementation intentions can serve us well in whooping it up with WOOP.


Wait, what is WOOP?

WOOP is a very cool and clever little acronym that serves to summarize and operationalize everything I’ve shared with you so far in this post about the awesome and amazing process that is wish fulfillment.

In a nutshell, …

W is for Wish: what is my wish? (make it juicy!)
O is for Outcome: why do I want this? (go deep!)
O is for Obstacle: alright, so, what is in my way?
P is for Plan: and what am I going to do about it?

In going deep with your response to O is for Outcome, keep in mind that you want to answer this question to your satisfaction: “what is the number one benefit I expect to receive from my desired outcome?”

Let me share an example with you that concretizes the contents of the aforementioned nutshell:

My juicy wish is to take a leisurely stroll, rain or shine, 30 minutes after I wake up in the morning.

My number one benefit: I feel so much more alive after my stroll that I can go deep with my work.

My perceived obstacles: “the weather might not be to my liking or I might feel too tired to do this.”

My plan of implementation comes with these two intentions: (1) if … the weather is not to my liking, then … I will dress for the occasion, no matter what the conditions, by making sure I check the weather forecast the day or night before; and (2) if … I feel too tired to go out for a stroll, then … I will do some vigorous exercise and/or some deep breathing before putting on my shoes and heading out the door.

Here, my identity as someone who is wholly committed to taking a morning stroll trumps excuses. Does this mean that I will always succeed in making it out the door in the morning? No, of course not, only that I will position myself to almost always succeed in making it out the door.

No action taken is taken in a vacuum, however, and so it helps to see the action I am taking in a broader context. With a morning stroll, I can view this activity as part and parcel of a broader morning routine.

With my WOOP in place, it helps me to keep this frame in mind:

  • morning tea (10 minutes), sipping with no distractions
  • morning stretch (5 minutes), stretching with no distractions
  • morning meditation (15 minutes), meditating with no distractions
  • morning stroll (30 minutes), strolling and exploring with no distractions

Feel free to frame the morning with your own activities in a way that feels right for you.

The timings are arbitrary and can be adjusted as you go along until you find the ones that give you the best fit. If you live with others, as I do, I have found it helpful to wake up earlier than they do.

One route for a morning stroll could be a favorite for you, but I would invite you to explore a different route every morning, while keeping in mind that a route can have multiple entry points and departure points. Stay open to discovering new things and places, and stay open to meeting and greeting your neighbourly neighbours if it’s not too early in the morning. If all you have is a favorite route, then milk it for all its worth: feed it with presence and receive its nuances according to weather or season.

Free of distractions, you have 60 minutes for yourself every morning. In that time, you can gather your energies and set the tone for the rest of your day, feeling calm and clear in preparation for the day.

If you are new to this process of wish fulfillment, I recommend exploring your deepest wish and any obstacles that might stand in the way of its fulfillment after starting small, as above, with a relatively simple juicy wish, moving forward to make it real to see what comes up for you.


Energy flows where attention goes: a powerful principle to be sure, but keep your sight on the prize, believe in its worth for you, visualize to your heart’s content, be mindful of potential obstacles, while holding yourself up to a standard that have these obstacles go your way.

I am not religious in any traditional sense, but I can still appreciate this prescription for the heart of soul:

Ask without hidden motive and be surrounded by your answer; be enveloped by what you desire

~ John 16: 23-24 (translated directly from the Aramaic)

Ask and ye shall receive, as they say, and sometimes, just sometimes, this is enough, but whenever it seems appropriate, why not whoop it up with WOOP the best way you know how? Remember, the heart and soul of wish fulfillment dwell forever beyond the cravings for safety and security.

To share information and inspiration on what is happening on this troubled yet promising world, I drew up two lists of sites that are serving the causes of personal, global and/or cosmic awakening.

This post has been filed under Application in the Ultimate Outline.

Note: my evolving outline on approaching a realization of the ultimate in personal fulfillment can be found here, accessible from the nav menu under the page “Be Here Now”.

Note: this ever growing perspective began here: Ultimate Perspective

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