Life & Work Skills

Being a Little ‘Delulu’ Can Help You Accomplish Your Biggest Goals

Source: @alena-shekhovtcova | Pexels
Source: @alena-shekhovtcova | Pexels

I’m no stranger to “being delusional.” I mean, I got a degree in music theatre, and I actively play professional dress-up for a living, so I have to live in the delulu at least a little bit for the sake of my career. But even before I entered into the performing arts, leaning into my delusion was crucial for me to believe that I could make it in such an unpredictable industry—especially since I entered into it during COVID, which we know was precisely when every theatre basically shut down. While some might have called it a day and changed their career path, I found an absurd amount of delusion (or what I like to call courage), and I stuck to what I loved to do. Now, I write professional pretender on my taxes.

So when I say I’m a little delulu, I don’t mean that I spend my life tricking myself into believing that I’m going to marry every cutie I run into at the airport (although I have and will continue to do that). Instead, I mean that I believe in my wildest dreams, knowing that consistency, courage, hard work, and a ruthlessly optimistic mindset can help me achieve them.

So, like a big sister or the bad influence friend your parents warned you about (you decide), I’m sharing how you too can lean into your delulu so that you can start checking off some of your dreams on your vision board—no matter how big or far out of reach they seem.

What does it mean to be delusional?

If you look up the definition of delusional, Merriam-Webster gives a rather pessimistic view of the word: something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated. We’ve all thrown the word delusional around from time to time—like when your bestie goes on about the various reasons why their Hinge match isn’t responding or how they’re saving money for a trip to Mexico because it’s cheaper than therapy.

To be honest, I used to view delusion as an insult and that being “in my own little world” was a bad thing, but it wasn’t until recently that I considered a different definition of the word that is less negative and rather rooted in optimism and bravery. Being “delulu” nowadays means less about being unrealistic and more about having an insane amount of self-courage and belief that you are capable of achieving whatever you set your mind to.

How can being “delulu” benefit you?

In doing some research about finding a job in the performing arts (and outside of it because, you know, COVID), I came across a survey done by LinkedIn that stated men apply to jobs they are only 60 percent qualified for, while women tend to only apply to jobs they are 100 percent qualified for. What in the patriarchy is this?! I did feel unqualified for the jobs I wanted to apply to, even though I was more than halfway done with my degree at the time, and I was tempted to just throw in the towel. But at the same time, while I believe some men could benefit from a little modesty, I knew the only way to turn this mojo dojo casa house around was to learn from men’s delusion and start gaining the courage to apply to jobs I didn’t think I was qualified for anyway.

Being qualified is as much about having the right mindset as it is about having experience and accolades. In my case, having a degree in music may seem unconventional, but it taught me how to problem-solve, be detail-oriented, think fast on my feet, and manage high-stress situations… all skills that are highly sought after at a more “practical” occupation if I had to go that route. Realizing this made me think, “How unqualified could I really be?!

Stepping into your delulu can give the extra push you need to make progress toward your biggest goals.

If you’re interested in a job or you’re wildly passionate about something, you’ll automatically put more energy and effort into it than someone who would rather be doing anything else—and that will show. So, whether it’s a job you’re after or a hard-to-reach goal, brainstorm what it will take to get to it. Then, think about what you already have going for you and consider what overlaps between the two. Soon, you’ll see that the connection is much less daunting, and your goal could actually be achievable. Basically, in doing this, you’ll realize that what you’re lacking is enough delusion (AKA a beautiful concoction of courage, patience, and determination) and not the actual qualifications that it takes to achieve your goals.

What can happen when you step into your delusion?

When I changed my mindset from thinking I was unqualified to thinking, “Why not me? Why wouldn’t it work out?” I started to walk into interviews believing that I deserved a seat at the table. My newfound courage and confidence allowed me to show my curiosity, ambition, and relentless work ethic—which I wouldn’t have done if I let myself believe I wasn’t good enough or qualified enough to be there. Stepping into your delulu can give you the extra push you need to make progress toward your biggest goals. And as soon as you change your thought process to believing in yourself, you give others permission to believe in you, too.

Whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder or pounding the pavement trying to get someone important to see your art, your delulu can help you open new doors. Have you been waiting an eternity to make partner? You actually are capable of starting your own firm. Are you having trouble getting someone to cast you? Perhaps it’s time to produce a one-person show. Did your male coworker get a raise, and you didn’t? A meeting with your boss to discuss why you deserve one, too, is imperative.

Being qualified is as much about having the right mindset as it is about having experience and accolades.

Even though the things you set your mind to can be intimidating at times, being a little delusional that everything will work out can give you the courage to go for it. This doesn’t mean that you’re skipping the hard work that it will take—it just means that you’re brave enough to take on that hard work because you know you’re capable of achieving your dream life.

Final thoughts

Delusion doesn’t equal skipping important steps—I’m not going to try to sweet-talk my way into becoming a surgeon… that would be bad for all parties involved. The point is to be delusional in what you think you are capable of accomplishing. To be delusional into thinking someone will take a chance on you. To be delusional into thinking that your resume five years post-grad is competitive with someone 25 years post-grad.

Everyone successful that you look up to had to be a little delusional to think they could get to the top and that they were the best person for the job. So be delulu, and you’ll soon realize that the delusion isn’t actually that far from the truth. Also, remember the TikTok trend going around right now, “How hard can it be? Boys do it.” So, really, how hard can it be to be delusional? Boys do it!