Would your life be dramatically improved if you were utterly deluded? – Barking up the wrong tree

Via Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom:


…evidence shows that people who hold pervasive positive illusions about themselves, their abilities, and their future prospects are mentally healthier, happier and better liked than people who lack such illusions.


I’ve posted before about the multitude of benefits delusion can offer:

People with positive illusions about their relationship are more satisfied, score higher on love and trust and have fewer problems.

Overconfidence increases producitivity and improves teamwork.
“Self-deception has been associated with stress reduction, a positive self-bias, and increased pain tolerance, all of which could enhance motivation and performance during competitive tasks.”


Only one problem here: you already are deluded. It’s pretty much our natural state:

Human beings are overconfidence machines. Paul J. H. Schoemaker and J. Edward Russo gave questionnaires to more than two thousand executives in order to measure how much they knew about their industries. Managers in the advertising industry gave answers that they were ninety-per-cent confident were correct. In fact, their answers were wrong sixty-one per cent of the time. People in the computer industry gave answers they thought had a ninety-five per cent chance of being right; in fact, eighty per cent of them were wrong. Ninety-nine per cent of the respondents overestimated their success.