In 1175, Alain de Lille, a French theologian and poet, wrote in his Liber Parabolarum the following, “mille viae ducunt homines per saecula Romam” (a thousand roads lead men forever to Rome). Just like ‘all roads lead to Rome’, a multitude of methods can lead you to achieve your goals. Many business and life coaches will teach you how important it is to be very clear about what goals you want to achieve. Why are they important to you? And most importantly, how will you achieve them?
One of the most effective goal achievement methods I personally use and teach my clients is to ‘become positively delusional.’ (As I like to call it.)
A positive delusion could be viewed as merely a very positive expectation. Now, you might think that’s just being unrealistic and lying to yourself. You might be right, but the science is clear on this matter.
Studies have shown that people who overestimate their skills, abilities, and talents for a new endeavour ultimately perform at a higher level than those that are more realistic or pessimistic about succeeding at that endeavour.
Those that overestimate their abilities learn skills faster and are more successful. This isn’t too surprising. If you think you’re not good at something and that you can’t learn to do it well, you’re going to be less motivated and engaged in learning that activity.
Conversely, if you expect the best, you’re going to jump in and get busy mastering that new skill. With high expectations – even unjustly high expectations – you’re greatly enhancing your odds of achieving success.
Use these tips to become positively delusional and help you achieve your goals.
1. Positive delusions give you hope. Think about how you would be and what you would do if you were pessimistic. You’d feel there’s little hope and that would make you less likely to succeed. When you tell yourself, “Things will improve if I keep going,” you give yourself the hope you require to keep trying and to persevere. It’s always possible that things won’t improve, but if you believe they will, they often do, and you give yourself a much better chance of success.
2. Expect the best, it will propel you to act. When you have positive expectations, it turbocharges your motivation, and you act. Whether you’re interested in learning to play the piano, trying out a new marketing method, or talking to an attractive stranger, you can move forward if you believe that something positive will happen. Life will show you again and again, what you expect and believe, you will experience. Might as well expect the best, right?
3. Keep in mind that most of your beliefs are at least partially delusional. Our knowledge and interpretations of our past experiences are far from accurate or perfect. Our perception of our outer reality is created through our five senses. This perception is then tainted by our (ego-driven) needs, wants and desires, as well as the unresolved thinking and emotional patterns we have incarnated with. In essence, there’s little that we believe to be true that’s actually true. We’re all operating under various delusions, hence we might as well create some positive and helpful delusions. (If you would like some help to remove your limiting beliefs, have a look at the Remove Your Self-Limiting Beliefs, Shift into a Higher Gear Program.)
4. Think about the kind of person you want to become. Consider the goals you have in your life and think about what type of person you need to be to achieve your goals. What qualities and characteristics do you need to possess? See yourself as already having those qualities and express them.
5. Believe that being positively delusional is in your best interest. There’s a time to be practical and realistic. But that time might not be as often as you think. Remind yourself that being practical and realistic can be limiting. Being optimistic and overestimating your abilities can be very effective, especially in the long term.
6. Visualize success. This is one of the best ways to use positive delusions to your advantage. Visualize yourself succeeding. Imagine overcoming every possible obstacle. Get ahead of everything you need to do. See it as already done. Feel how fantastic you feel when you achieve your goals. Feel this way now and every day until it becomes a reality. This is how it can happen.
You sit at your desk, you see your action list, you feel excited to whiz through it. Even though it’s not a reality yet, you can already feel the satisfaction of reaching your goals pulsate through body. You can hear “Yes, I did it!” echo in your brain. Excited? Yes. Good. Now go for it.
Overestimating your abilities and the likelihood of your success can be a powerful way to improve your results. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt on a regular basis and see how it positively it affects your life.
Sometimes it’s good to choose what works rather than what makes sense when you want to achieve your goals. Become positively delusional. Perform an experiment on yourself and review the results. See how well it works for you.
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