Cultivate an optical margin of illusion

Baumeisters’s groundbreaking research on the meanings of life found that happiness often requires illusions. That the happiest people systematically distort and exaggerate in their own minds the frequency of their successes, the perception of their identities and the quality of their circumstances. 

Which makes sense, considering that nobody gets exactly what they want. Everybody experience shortfalls in their expectations. And few people achieve every goal, every time. 

Our illusions may be a defensive, distorted response, but then again, we all have to be a little deluded to stay motivated, happy and fulfilled. We all have to rationalize and reconcile and reframe experiences to make them acceptable in our own eyes. 

Especially when it comes to our careers. Because if we can’t delude ourselves into thinking that our work is significant, we may never make it out alive. 

And so, there’s no shame in finding safe harbor in our comfortable and useful illusions. We all see what we can afford to see. We all remember the past the way we need to. And often times, it’s the best way to help solve the problem of receding standards. 

As long as we recognize our illusions for what they are, we have a real chance of a creating a meaningful life. 


Are you sustaining happiness through a process of illusion maintenance?


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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

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