In Defense of Delusion

Every person has that one coworker, family member, or manager who has a slightly deluded idea of his or her own strengths. Maybe your boss thinks she is an amazing public speaker, when you’ve seen clients falling asleep when she talks. Maybe your brother thinks he is absolutely hilarious, when really his jokes elicit mere pity laughs.

Here’s the thing many managers get wrong: delusion is not a problem for us to solve. Rather, it’s the source of grit and resilience.

I hope that your boss and your brother are positively deluded. I hope that you are positively deluded. Because that delusion is what causes us to keep going, to climb higher, and to do things that others think we can’t do. Resilience and grit are merely the desperate attempt to bring reality in line with your slightly deluded sense of who you are.

And as a manager – or really, as a person – it’s not your job to show people where they fall short. Where they fail. Don’t hold a mirror up to your team members’ delusions – show them where they fly, where they succeed, and where they are strong. Delusion can do great things for us, but strengths – strengths are where success begins.


What about you?

Have you excelled in your strengths? 

Tell us your story below.


  1. Mary Hayes March 13, 2018 at 7:43 AM - Reply

    Thank you Marcus. Here is a quick blog about depressive realism.
    The best line is the last line “As ever, one must be very careful not to confuse our human nature with inadequacy, or the tender shoots of wisdom with mental illness.” I think this speaks direct to the uniqueness of humans and how each of us has a different set of strengths.

  2. Tiffany March 13, 2018 at 10:15 AM - Reply

    What an impressively positive viewpoint on delusions. It’s refreshing as I’ve many delusions. Ha!

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