Early Writings of Evan Bailyn

Wondering What I Would Do If I Had Three Wishes

Posted by on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 with 0 comments

“What would you do if you had three wishes?” is an age-old question that dates back to Arabian tales involving genies and magic lamps. The legend allows the master of the lamp any three requests except more wishes. In college, during boring lectures, I used to ponder what I would wish for.

Coming up with a realistic answer is very difficult because one always wants to maximize the benefit of one’s three wishes. Considering which wishes might be encompassed in other wishes is crucial. For instance, requesting infinite wealth may seem like a great first wish, but upon greater reflection, asking to live forever would eventually allow you to achieve the same goal. Not only would your investments have more time to grow, but book and television deals would keep you in the flush for centuries. Flawless beauty is another common wish. However, it would be silly to wish for beauty when you could wish for attractiveness instead; for attractiveness is the underlying purpose of beauty.

Of course, you could make all of your wishes irrelevant by simply requesting everlasting happiness. Happiness is the goal of money, fame, power, beauty, and any other desire. After all, even if you were poor, unknown, weak, and ugly, what would it matter if you were absolutely thrilled with life?

If I had three wishes, though, I’d be careful about asking for such all-encompassing things. The benefits of any good thing are bound to fade when there is nothing bad with which to contrast it. If you were always happy, then happiness would turn into a standard, unspecial state. Even a wish as wonderful-sounding as living forever would backfire because life is validated by death. If we were able to live forever, our time would become worthless. There would never be a need to seize the moment because infinite other moments would lie ahead. Therein lies the quandary of all-encompassing wishes: they eliminate risk and uncertainty, rendering life unexciting.

If I had three wishes, I would ask 1) for myself, my family, and my future wife and kids to live in perfect health for 150 years, 2) to be told the meaning of life right before I die, and 3) to be able to fly.

Perfect health requires no explanation.

Learning the meaning of life would instill me with purpose and give me ultimate peace of mind. However, I wouldn’t want to find out the meaning of life too early in case the answer was too shocking for me to handle, thus propelling me into a metaphysical crisis.

And flying? It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. It would make life more beautiful to be able to soar above the trees and perch on the tops of mountains.

There are other ideas I’d consider in place of the second and third wish – the ability to freeze time, the power of cupid’s arrow, and world peace, among others – each of which has a world of benefits and drawbacks to it. But that’s the joy of this exercise: it’s so open-ended that it could keep you occupied for hours.

Evan Bailyn is a serial entrepreneur, search engine and social media expert, celebrated author and child advocate. His company, First Page Sage, is a leader in search engine optimization and social media marketing - vastly increasing business for its clients through high SEO rankings, targeted Facebook advertising and viral videos. Evan is also the founder of the Evan Bailyn Foundation, a foundation dedicated to teaching emotional awareness to children and adults. 

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