Michael Mentele Software Engineer

Self-Delusion, it's the Logical Thing to Do

Man with foil over his face

It makes sense to be deluded.

That’s right, it makes perfect logical sense to harbor beliefs that are unlikely to be true because they can give you advantages that make you more effective.

What do I mean? Take religion, being religious can be correlated with various advantagous, better health, happiness etc. I was first exposed to this idea reading ‘Blue Zones’ a book on the longest lived ares of the world (called blue zones). Spirtuality was a clear theme amongst the cultures studied.

Of course, it’s not really relgion, more the set of beliefs, community, and rituals packaged together with the religious meme.

A better example of a concious delusion is the belief in total responsibility and control in one’s life.

Simply put; if I control and am at fault (responsible for) all that happens in my life, then I have power over changing it.

Because of this belief I am more likely to actually effect change.

Objectively, I know that life is a complex chain of cause and effect, just atoms bouncing around, and that my life is pre-determined. This is what the evidence seems to support.

Even if that weren’t so and free will was an actual thing, still, many events and certainly other free agents operate outside of that control.

That said, I can decide to adopt the concious delusion that I control and am responsible for everything that happens in my life.

Why would I adopt such a belief? Because it empowers me. If I am responsible I have the power to change and will take action in line with that belief. If I am a little crybaby-victim I might use the objective truth of lack of control to do nothing even though in most cases it’s likely that I can effect change.

The problem in most cases, with most people (as far as I can observe), is that they underestimate their capacity. They give up or do nothing or don’t do enough, and then quit. Or they take massive action but it’s foolish. Sometimes the cowardly thing to do is put all your effort in but never actually change your approach–because the approach is new, or scary, or you’re just doing what you know.

Most likely exercise less than 10% of their capabilities because they’ve psychologically throttled themselves via: 1) their belief systems and 2) their life experience.

For example, I know that I can work hard 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. I learned this at 18 working on boats in Alaska. I hardly break a sweat when most other people quit. I’ve stretched my perspective on capacity to the limit.

C’mon. Many people think 40 hours is a long week. An 8 hour day “can’t come soon enough”, TGIF, etc.


What about looking for work? Maybe people submit a dozen, or maybe a hundred applications, or maybe they non-stop submit applications and are grinding as hard as possible. It’s still not working.

They’ve still failed. It’s not their fault right? Wrong. They are afraid. If they wanted the result, instead of grinding 100% they’d realize they need a new strategy. Instead of 100’s of crappy applications flushed down the blackhold of the internet why not select 3 companies, reach out to decision makers online. Learn about the company. Research it. Go to the company in person. Build a project demonstrating the value you could add. When they reject you, reapply with a new project. Persist. If they reject you, reapply again.

Too weird?

Guess you could be like everyone else, half-ass it, retire to 3 hours of netflix and some alcohol because you ‘tried.’

People, in my experience, just don’t know what their best is!

Instead, they cling to psychological safety.

Consider this; if you aren’t in control, you are safe! You can play the victim because you don’t need to take action. It’s not my fault! It’s someone else’s fault! Help me! Make no mistake–being a victim is a massive power play.

So, here’s some advice: conciously delude yourself with beliefs that empower you.

And, oh yeah, don’t be a little victim.

You’ll be more likely to live up to your potential.