WHAT IS YOUR THEORY OF WHY YOU WILL SUCCEED?

“Evolution designed the human brain,” say Mlodinow, “not to accurately understand itself but to help us survive … if our natural view of the world is skewed, it is skewed for a reason.” This is why optimism is so functional – people who are optimistic can often make that a self-fulfilling prophecy. By believing we can control our environment, we find ways to do precisely that. As Henry Ford once said, whether we believe we can achieve something or not, we are right. There are obvious limits – a belief that we can walk on water or repel the waves is not functional. “In order for your inflated self-image to serve you well,” Mlodinow writes, “it must be inflated to just the right degree and no further.”

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