Magical Thinking: Are You a Believer?

Thanks to magical thinking, Lioz always believes she can -- even when it's time to get a parking space. "I really do envision my spots and get them 90 percent of the time," said Lioz. "I have no idea how it works. But again, I don't care. It just does. I believe in vibes -- [if] you're putting out that positive vibe, the rest of your world is going to meet you at that vibe."

Taking Action

So what should people who study "The Secret" know about magical thinking? "Having a positive outlook -- being an optimist, feeling a sense of control in your life -- is a good thing, and is associated with positive outcomes for mental health, physical health, your work life," Pronin said. "But I think it's also important to recognize that visualizing getting a parking space is unlikely to get you a parking space. It's better to just show up a half an hour early for your job interview, so that you leave that half hour to get the space, than to think you can just get there and visualize."

Nick Barber would be the first to agree that in life, wishing won't make it so -- not all by itself. "No -- God, no," he said. "It's the day-to-day actions that are going to make the difference: the self-discipline, the passion, the 12-hour days. This was a lot of hard work."

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