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  • Writer's picturePeter

What is Focusing Illusion?

Updated: Jun 4

Bears playing poker
Playing cards with teddy bears in St Remy, France

Many of us assume there is a silver bullet formula to attain happiness in our pursuit of personal growth and a higher quality of life. Better education, our career advancement, improved family harmony, more money, material assets and healthier etc.

However the paradox is that happiness in itself is not in having these ingredients of happiness but in fact the pursuit of these ingredients we have the opportunity to experience the lasting satisfaction if done authentically.

For example. We all know having more money does not mean you are happier. Money is needed to fund a level of quality of life, however beyond this, studies confirm the amount of happiness attained is a diminishing return on effort.

Those who continue to pursue excessive wealth often find themselves with less health (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical), greater worries, and finding less and less fulfilment even when they have achieved herculean levels of greater wealth.

The same applies to studies, our careers, health and any other ingredient of our lives that we feel compelled to need to have in order for us to experience more happiness.

Focusing Illusion is a theory that researchers have discovered occurs when we overly emphasise the importance of attaining something and our entire happiness is dependent on it.

The danger of focusing illusion is its impact on our quality of life, because when we self-motivate ourselves from a place of inner unhappiness we are blind to the unintended consequences that come from this approach.

For example to be accepted by our peers we may project a happier and interesting life to others in our social groups, social media environments than maybe our true reality.

As the saying goes “We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like”.

If our valued peer’s validate our false illusion of happiness, their doing so supports our long term unhappiness, because what we projected was not our authentic self but the image of our self we think is required to be acceptable in the eyes of others.

Our fleeting dopamine hit of happiness only to be followed by feelings of withdrawal from our unauthenticity validating our ongoing unhappiness.  While reinforcing our inner narrative that until we have this ‘key’ ingredient of happiness we will remain unhappy and unfulfilled.

It’s human nature that we all have and create our own narratives for our unhappiness. The danger is that it is also in this vacuum of truth we seek to fill this void with self-validation, escapism, self-pity or continue along our journey of life unchanged.

The truth is, there is no one single formula for happiness. However a common characteristic of both happy and satisfied people is they accept themselves.

Accepting ourselves is one of the most defining and difficult tasks we will face in our life. It is also one of the easiest, simplest, low cost, maintenance free and most rewarding and formulas to action.

The paradox is when we accept ourselves we are given permission to be released from external expectations and let go of our illusionary self, imprisoning us from the experience of feeling satisfied and happy.

Another by-product of accepting ourselves is that we accept what we have been given, so we can better rise to the situation regardless of the challenge we set ourselves.

As we embark on this new decade ahead and in this start of a new year we turn our attention to all that we hope to become and achieve remember that you already hold all the cards to experience lasting happiness in your life.

This post was written by Me, as such they are my personal views and not financial or general advice.

You should always seek independent financial advice when it comes to choices about your personal finances. This is one area of your life where it’s worth paying for it to be done right.

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