Fooling ourselves

It’s tempting to believe that we’re not easy to fool.

Not by a magician, a politician or a banker. Other folks might be easily duped by a spammer or a hustler, but not us.

And yet, no one fools you more than you.

When you look in the mirror, do you see what others see, or is it possible you see someone far less (or far more) attractive than others do?

Do we assume that our work is so good and so useful that anyone who doesn’t see that is confused or misguided?

Perhaps we feel like an impostor, a fraud or an unseen genius…

These are all forms of self-deception.

A useful way forward might be to ask, “is it working?”

If the marketplace of ideas, of commerce or of relationships sees something of value, perhaps they’re right. And if they don’t, perhaps we might develop the empathy to understand what’s missing in our narrative about what we do or how we do it.

Marketing to others begins with marketing to ourselves.

If it turns out that our self-deception is a reliable source of fuel for us to achieve our goals, it might be worth living with. But at some point, our ability to fool ourselves becomes toxic. It blocks our ability to create generous and useful work, and it eats away at our confidence and peace of mind.

It’s not easy to see ourselves as others do. But perhaps they’re onto something.