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Delusional Optimism Is the Central Habit of Highly Successful People

by | Apr 24, 2023 | Success

I once worked for a sugar daddy CEO.

After hours he bragged that he liked to be a sugar daddy. It made him sound like a douchebag.

Everything this guy did at the company was pure madness.

He’d have a product idea and want it live in 24 hours. When someone tried to buy the company he told them it cost $50M, even though it made a few million. You’d think the employees wouldn’t trust him.

But you know what? He was right. He was a magician. He could make stuff happen that looks impossible. Those who didn’t know him called him delusional. Those like me who knew him well knew it was hidden genius.

Being realistic will never make you successful.

This is where being “realistic” gets you

I used to be the realistic guy.

I could tell you the flaw of any idea & get people to believe it. Nothing ever happened as a result of my realistic thoughts though. I worked with a whole team of realistic people in banking. You know what we did on the daily?

Settle for less.

We knew we were capable of more but we weren’t delusional enough to try it and risk failure and embarrassment.

So what happens is you rent your time to a company for a discount so they can make a profit on your most scarce life resource. You’re always busy because you’re serving other people’s priorities that enable their dream.

Eventually the boredom and lack of creativity take over.

The only way to numb the pain is with addiction — drugs, Netflix, p*rn, TikTok, social media, alcohol, and coffee (a psychedelic).

Only those who are unreasonable enough to demand more from themselves and others will make it. Why?

The resistance to get momentum is too great. The only way to break through is to smash through with delusional optimism.

Success isn’t the result of sanity

Everyone who’s obsessed and practices delusional optimism like me is a little messed up.

I’m starting to think success may actually be a mental illness. We delusionally optimistic people live by the mantra “screw being normal.”

We’re anything but sane.

  • We ask unreasonable questions.
  • We expect unreasonable timeframes.
  • We want to make unreasonable amounts of money.
  • We can work crazy, unreasonable 12-hour days when we get an idea and want to work on it.

Some call it hustle culture. Others call it entrepreneurship, that only special people get to do. I call it delusional optimism.

Delusional time management skills are the best

I think I’m freaking Superman.

My to-do list is always too long. So it drives me to be more time efficient, thus helping me get more done.

Yesterday I planned to do 10 Zoom calls, write 4 articles, publish 12 tweets, get a haircut, play with my daughter, and watch a 3-hour course.

I didn’t get most of that done.

Being delusional about time is awesome because it helps you prioritize the biggest enablers of your delusion. That’s how you get uncommon focus.

This quote will light a fire inside of you

I found this hiding at the bottom of an instagram post:

Imagination is the key to creation. I must create an illusion to see past where I am right now or stay here forever — @chrisaverycoaching

Delusionally optimistic people create illusions in their brains.

When others hear about or even see them in the physical world, they assume you’re not-quite-right.

But illusions are a form of progress.

Only when you can see a goal in your mind can you contemplate what’s required to do it.

The original goal is never the end goal — and that’s the whole point.

The illusion is just a fire starter inside of you. It helps provide the creative spark that sets you in motion. Once you’re in motion nothing can stop you.

That’s how it was with writing. Originally I wanted to create the biggest self-improvement website on the internet. Bigger than Success dot com.

I got started and figured out that’s not what I wanted. And it led me to write 5000+ stories on the internet. That led to books, consulting, and starting an online business.

When I told people my original goal they thought I was delusional. Now they see what the goal morphed into, they don’t laugh anymore.

Form illusions in your mind. Validate them through execution.

If you don’t back yourself 100%, who will?

I see this online all the time.

People show off their pessimism as if it’s an Oscar trophy. They’re deeply afraid. They don’t believe in themselves or their ideas.

But somehow, they want others to believe in them?

That’s true insanity. If you don’t believe then no one else will. None of us start out knowing what we’re doing. We just tap into this hidden power that is delusional optimism without even realizing it.

Once you understand what delusional optimism is you can proactively use it to win the game of life.

Pessimists sound smart. Optimists make money — GitHub’s former CEO Nat Friedman

The stupidly simple case for delusional optimism

Tech whiz Kevin Kelly has a unique take on delusional optimism.

We should be optimistic not because our problems are smaller than we thought, but because our capacity to solve them is larger than we thought.

That’s the thing … you have way more untapped potential than you realize. Fear blocks it from being unleashed and turns it into pessimism.

We’re born problem solvers. When we put our minds to work and harness imagination and creativity we can literally achieve anything.

If you want to study a delusional optimist then read all the books on Walt Disney’s life. He’s one of the crazy ones.

He’ll show you a different way to view the world.

Once you have delusional optimism then all you need is an asymmetric risk/opportunity

Great. You’ve decided to be a delusional optimist. Now what?

You need to take an asymmetric risk. The first time I heard this phrase was in a Tony Robbins book called “Money Master The Game.”

It’s where you take the smallest risk possible for the largest return. You find which risk to take through careful analysis and research.

Taking a risk is a bizarrely how you find great opportunities. It’s what many normal people miss. They keep capping the downside and letting fear tell them what to do, so they miss opportunities that create oversized success.

Naval Ravikant says these are the best asymmetric opportunities:

• Invest in startups

• Start a company

• Create a book, podcast, video

• Create a (software) product

• Go on many first dates

• Go to a cocktail party

• Read a Lindy book

• Move to a big city

• Buy Bitcoin

• Tweet

What’s the cost of this delusional madness?

Is the first risk you take going to lead to crazy success?

Probably not. But you’ll learn a lot, access flow states, meet new people, and build some powerful habits. Those are the ingredients of your eventual success. And the most important realization is this:

It costs you nothing to try.

So go out there, light a fire inside of you, deploy relentless creativity, and show everybody what’s possible with delusional optimism.

Because the alternative is pessimism, and that’ll destroy your life, leave you depressed, and make you live a life full of regrets.

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