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Reverse Paranoia

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We are a society of paranoid people. It’s not our fault, we are hard wired for it. We used to be hyper-aware humans who stayed in groups to protect us from wild animals or neighboring tribes. These days, we still carry the same anxiety triggers that can lead us to be paranoid, though we have fewer reasons to be so. Paranoia leads to skepticism and that leads us to protect ourselves, after all that is what the brain is wired for; self-preservation.

Paranoia is not only about unreasonably fearing and doubting others, and being highly suspicious of their motives toward you, it’s also about harboring feelings of hostility toward others generally. It is the feeling that everything is against you.

Lately, I have been suffering from opposite; reverse paranoia. Reverse paranoia is the belief that the Universe is conspiring for you, not against you. The term is called pronoia. What if we could use this feeling to propel us forward?

In the last week, I have had two people tell me that my name has come up in conversations and that people have said nothing but good things about me. I joked and said  it means that my checks are clearing. A few days later I was in a conversation with some other folks and the discussion was about how they had recently met some very influential people who could not be nicer. The perception going in was that given their status they would be stand-offish. That perception had paranoia all over it; as I said, we are hardwired that way.

Imagine what could happen when we start to think about how the Universe is conspiring for us instead of against us?


“I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” – J. D. Salinger


Have a great weekend.