Useful lies

The human mind is a powerful thing. It’s so powerful it can make some things true simply by believing in them.

The Placebo Effect is the most stark example. When given a treatment with absolutely no medical benefit whatsoever – a sugar pill, for instance – sometimes patients will either think they have or actually experience an improvement in their condition, simply because they believed the treatment might help. Taking action helps, even when the action itself has no clinical benefit.

Placebos are an example of what I call a useful lie. I’ll give you another example – optimism. Many a cynic believe some dire things about the world and humanity. And perhaps they’re right, but is their doom-saying useful? Optimism may be a lie, but it’s a useful lie, and one I’ve chosen to tell myself because all progress depends on the unreasonable man, and that’s who I’d rather be.

Another example is me becoming an author, and being able to make a living by my art. Probably I’ll fail. The odds are certainly against me. But because I tell myself it’s possible – because I tell myself that lie – I’m actively working towards that future, opening up a chance for victory.

Maybe I’ll make it, and maybe I won’t. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ve decided upon a reality that’s beneficial to me, and made progress for doing so.

What truths do you believe in that would better be replaced with useful lies?