Humans have a tendency to have a grandiose opinion of themselves. We like to think that we are better than the rest.
The Gamblers Fallacy lets us think that we are luckier than our contemporaries, and the Midas Touch lets us think that we have a special ability to make a success of everything we turn our attention to. The feelings of grandiosity are what drive us to follow get quick schemes, fall for scams that appear to be too good to be true and think that everything will be just fine….because it will be*.
The feelings of grandiosity are not always bad. They enable us to remain optimistic, give us the energy to pursue our goals and the confidence to back ourselves when needed.
The problem occurs when we we let out grandiosity become delusional. This is where we expect to succeed quickly when we have no basis for this belief.
I know you wouldn’t suffer from this, but you may work with people who do. You can spot them when:
– They expect projects to work first time
– They expect projects to come in on time and budget every time
– Expecting to land that big contract on the first call
– They dismiss qualified feedback because it does not agree with what they think
– Not willing to do their apprenticeship in their trade
– Giving up on a project at the first hurdle
– Trying another project and quickly failing that before repeating the process
– Not trying a project
– Not trying
– Just not
We all cognitively know that success is never a straight line journey – there are always detours, dead-ends and false starts before we get the break through we are after. Maybe these detours, dead-ends and false starts are not what they seem – maybe they are the exact steps required to reach where you want to go.
Two great books on this are The Obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday and The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene.
If you let your grandiosity become delusional, you will end up looking like D!ck
As always, I’d love your thoughts on this here.
*The feeling that things will always go wrong because you are involved is also a feeling of grandiosity – it’s just in the negative frame.