The Wishing Well



If wishes were horses then beggars would ride. It’s an old English proverb from the 1500s but it still rings true today.

Just imagine what life would be like if you got everything on your wish list. You would be richer, more beautiful (not you Bob, but I’m sure you’d be lots handsomer) and you would probably have that $2.4 million Bugatti Veyron Super Sport with 1,200 stampeding horses under the hood. What a ride, happy wishmaker!

But truth be told, some of us would get better things if we got our wishes, like the return of lost friends, squandered youth and missed opportunities. But, sadly, wishing doesn’t get it done, does it?

So why wish? For about a day after I bought my ticket for the $1.4 billion lottery a few weeks ago, wishing was a lot of harmless fun. But you probably know by now that neither you nor I had that wish come true.
The point of that old proverb, as everyone knows, is as true today as it was 500 years ago; wishes are pretty much useless. Better results are achieved through action.

So why not turn that old Wish List (except for the one you might leave with milk and cookies for Santa, of course) into a To Do List?

Canadian educator Laurence J. Peter is best known for first stating the Peter Principle: “The best work is done by the people who are incompetent to do it…they have to work harder than anybody else to succeed, so they usually do (my paraphrase).” They do it, they don’t wish it.

He also said, “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Don’t let yourself indulge in vain wishes.”

So this week please accept the Jamestown Gazette’s invitation for you to welcome an adventurer who crossed that sea, Katie Spotz, when she comes to Jamestown next week. She rowed her 19-foot rowboat more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean… alone. She was only 21 years old when she crossed it off her Wish List and promoted it to her To Do List. She was 23 when she stepped on shore in South America after an incredible solo row from Africa, the youngest person to ever achieve such a feat of endurance, bravery and determination.

See what happens when you stop wishing and start doing? Katie says to us all, “Realize that it is possible if you just take one step after another. Whatever you do, just take that first step.”

The first step, really a giant leap (did somebody say we’d never get to the Moon?), is to step away from that old wishing well. It is only a hole in the ground.

And whatever else you do, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
The Jamestown Gazette

Previous articleZonta Club Provides New Library Materials
Next articleChautauqua Rowers Mark First 10 Years: Famed Adventurer Joins Celebration
Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.