In a recent psych consult a rather fit gentleman told me he was 63. I asked when he was born and he said 1911. I asked if he remembered World War II and he said he was in school then. I wrote
2005
-1911
and asked him to do the subtraction. He accurately computed 94. "Something's wrong." he said. "I'm only 63." Despite further questions, his belief was unshakeable.

We have many beliefs that are difficult to prove but help us be more successful. One type is our religious beliefs. Others include believing that you make a difference and Einstein's belief that "the world is a friendly place." There is a great deal of research that optimists are healthier and more successful than pessimists. Many successful people attribute their success to first believing they were successful (even though others and external trappings suggested they were not).

I once had a young, anorexic client tell me she was fat. I asked her go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and draw what she saw in the mirror. As it happens, the mirror was only above the sink. The top half of her drawing looked like a normal person. The bottom half ballooned into obesity. Another interesting delusion is men who are convinced they are really women trapped in a man's body.

Yes, that rather fit 94 year old gentleman had some dementia. Yet his belief about his age helped keep him looking and feeling much younger. Perhaps we could learn something from him. Fortunately, you don't have to be demented to choose to believe in a "delusion."

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Michael Brickey, America’s preeminent Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include: Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs. Visit www.DrBrickey.com for a free report on anti-aging secrets and his free Defy Aging Newsletter with practical anti-aging tips. Hear him interview leading anti-aging experts and/or read the interview transcripts with the anti-aging experts.

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