How to Lie to Yourself… and Fare Better Than if You Didn’t

I work away from home regularly. When I am away, I stay in a hotel. I have my own room and bathroom, which are cleaned for me. I don’t have to pay for electricity, water or gas. A variety of food is prepared and cooked for me and I don’t have to wash up afterwards. I am picked up before and dropped off after work. I have access to a gym and a pool, which I use to keep myself fit and healthy. In fact, about the only thing I do for myself is wash my own clothes (getting a hotel to wash your clothes is always so expensive anyway) and they have dryers, which makes the whole process more convenient.

I work with many other people, in similar positions, yet some of these people’s stories might be more like this:

“I have to work away from home regularly and it sucks. While I’m away, I stay in something that is not much better than a prison. I have a tiny room and bathroom which, don’t get cleaned often. Sometimes the electricity or water cuts out, like when I really need to have a shower. The only option is to eat the terrible food they cook for us, because the next option for food is an hour’s drive away. The ride to and from work always takes so long because I have to wait for all the other people on the bus. The gym and the pool are nice – when they aren’t out of action for maintenance. And to top it all off, I have to wash my own clothes.”

I live in the exact same conditions as these people, working the same hours, in the same work place. So why the difference?

The truth is, I work as an engineer on a mine site, on a fly in/fly out roster.

But the difference is that I have lied to myself. Or at least, I have skewed my perception purposefully in one direction so that I may benefit positively. This helps me enjoy my time on site. Meanwhile, some people have (unintentionally) skewed their perceptions in the opposite direction. As a result, they are miserable when they arrive and only look forward to the time that they get to fly out.

Part of the trick here is to use what I wrote about last week (or any other techniques that work for you).You can lie to yourself (or bend your perceptions) so that you propel yourself forward. As a result, I stay in my hotel, and they stay in their prison. I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard for you to guess who is happier.

If you’re going to do bed your perceptions like this, I would advise you to keep it realistic – I know I’m not actually staying in a hotel, but by reminding myself of all the great things about it, I have a better time.

Meanwhile, lying to yourself unrealistically could have severe consequences. However, chances are that you will know the difference.

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