Troubled by Fantasies of Being Rich

Reader’s Question

In the last couple of weeks, my favorite relaxation fantasy of being rich and carefree has turned into a fixation. Almost every day my mind drifts from whatever I am doing at the moment to thinking about my fantasy in great detail. It seems to be no longer a fantasy but a detailed planning of how my mansion, etc. would be. Can you tell me how I can get over this? It has been recommended to me that I work through this fantasy down to the smallest detail by writing it down, thus when I feel that there is nothing I can add to the fantasy, it will just go away. What do you think?

Psychologist’s Reply

We call a collection of thoughts a fantasy because they have no basis in reality. Writing details of a fantasy is actually only more fantasy. Happiness is actually reality-based and involves working in the direction of your fantasies. A person with fantasies of being a famous actor will be unhappy working in a grocery store. That same person will be happier working as a small-part actor in a college play — working in the direction of his fantasy.

Rather than focus on your fantasy and the fantasy details, focus on the steps to achieve your fantasy and goals. If you want to be rich, what are the first steps? You’ll find in all biographies of rich people that they worked hard in the direction of their eventual achievement. Bill Gates worked on computers. The man who founded Wal-Mart worked in a retail store. Famous and rich musicians spent many years working in smoke-filled small bars and venues before achieving success.

Unless you work toward your fantasy, you’re wasting your time with fantasy details. While most fantasy is harmless entertainment, if it intrudes into your life you may want to see a counselor/therapist.

Keep in mind that no one ever won the lottery without first working, creating an income, and buying a ticket. Success always involves effort.

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