‘Delusion optimism’ and the realisation of nothing

Will you take responsibility for you?

I was reading an article on the outlook of the economy and the author used the term ‘delusional optimism’. This made me think about the way we manage change, or more particularly, how we approach ‘self-improvement’ and the changes improvement necessarily entail.  We love to talk about self-improvement, read about it and attend seminars, but rarely do we do anything about it. In short, we don’t change.

Perhaps that makes self-improvement a form of entertainment rather than education; a feel good, dreamscape of self-delusion.  Much like buying a lottery ticket, we’re in love with the idea and potential of what it can bring without ever expecting it to happen.

We love the idea of change and the benefits it will bring but mostly we aren’t prepared to put in the effort to make it happen. People are deluded about what they can do, or more particularly the results they can get, without specific action or effort.

People exaggerate their intentions and are deluded about the results. Positive affirmations are a great example – we can affirm our future wealth and success over and over again but without action there won’t be traction. A positive mindset is only the beginning.

Knowing what affects behaviour has very little influence on how we actually behave. Just ask anyone wanting to quit smoking or lose weight. The answer may be obvious, but making it happen is not. Speak to a group about the benefits of change and they get very excited, ask for a commitment and the mood changes, the excuses start and the enthusiasm gets icy.

They don’t want to do it, or even admit it to themselves, because people have life equilibrium and they’re comfortable with that, even when they say they’re not. You can’t make change without some cost, even if that’s just a loss of the familiar or the comfortable.

So there remains a gap between people’s love of the topic, the content, their potential and their acceptance that it actually applies to them. Meaningful changes comes down to how bad you want it, how much you understand the cost of acquiring it, and what you’ll accept in short-term pain for long-term gain. We all have the potential to change, but are we prepared to do what it takes?


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