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What is "The Toddler Delusion" That Breeds Narcissism and Destruction?!

Updated: Mar 15

Most so-called grown-ups will have a mindset that is more that of a toddler than they realise!

Image Credit Alexander Dummer @Unsplash

What Is The Reality Of The World We Actually Live In?

Do you think the world you're living in is improving and evolving? Or is it decaying? Even de-volving? Have you ever looked at the world and asked yourself, what do you actually see? I mean stopping, breathing, to have a real hard look at the world. Have you ever looked deeply at yourself and asked yourself the same question? What do you really see?

I ask these questions because I read many articles and watch videos from the likes of psychologists such as Stephen Pinker who argue that the world is improving - and I start to think, yea, maybe it is…

Why do Billions of People Drink Foul Water That Causes Millions of Deaths?

Then I have a conversation with my mentor who can simply ask me a question that floors me in my tracks such as, “If the world is so good and everyone is as nice as they say they are, then why are there 800 million children and another 1 billion-plus adults drinking sewage water?” (and this is the pre-watershed version of the question!)

Because the reality is, if everyone in the developed world - or even 10% - got together overnight (and we know this won’t happen) then we could make a gigantic inroad to solving such problems! So why don’t we?

Why Don't We Put an End to Suffering in Humanity, Especially Children?

Because virtually everyone in the world, including myself, thinks more about ourselves and what we want, a hundred times more than we think about the needs of others. Now this isn’t to say that we never think about the needs of others, but that we don’t nearly think about others as we ought to if we were healthy mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Indeed psychologists such as Jordan Peterson and M Scott Peck use different terms for the actual emotional maturity of grown-ups, such as “The Old Infant” or “Chaotic Anti-Social ” because they show that grown-up people act more like children in relation to their behaviour than they ever think they do.

If this sounds extreme, just look at the news tonight. Look at the bickering of those politicians that are in charge of billions and millions of pounds. Look at how people swear and argue when they drive their cars and get cut-off by another driver or don’t let another car come out of a side road onto a main road. Look at people competing for spaces in queues at the supermarket or fighting over seats on public transport! It’s scary when you look properly.

The Toddler Delusion

So why do grown-ups behave like this? Well at Lighthouse Global we call it The Toddler Delusion. This is when we think that we are an adult because we are physically grown but inside, emotionally we often think and act like a toddler!

How do toddlers behave? They think the world revolves around them. They cry and mummy comes to them. They are hungry and scream, mummy comes to them. Whatever they want, they get. They don’t think about the needs of their parents just their own. They do what they’re told under strict instruction but act recklessly when they think no one is watching. And when they don’t get what they want, there’s hell to pay…

The Toddler Delusion is dangerous. When it’s in effect, we start to believe everyone and everything should make us happy because we are the centre of the universe. We think that somehow we are special because we are who we are! We then start to believe that we are a law unto ourselves - that consequences don’t apply to us. We can have that extra bit of dessert. We can surf the net aimlessly at work, we argue and react aggressively when someone says or does something we don’t think is right.

What’s an Adult?

One of the main reasons we don’t think we’re toddlers is because we wear a nice adult suit and go to work with a nice adult office and we drive a nice adult car in our nice adult house.

An adult is not one because of their physical age or their life situation. A true healthy grown adult builds their life on natural principles, laws, values and virtues. Not opinions and hearsay. They are able to look after themselves and they are able to look after others - especially the most vulnerable.

The Toddler Delusion Creates Devastating Toddler Results - Inside and Outside Our Homes

Most people haven’t developed into being a healthy grown adult because they haven’t been taught to be one! Many of us don’t think we are capable of solving our own challenges and we definitely don't think it’s our responsibility to solve the problems outside our front door. However, we don't realise that the extent to which we suffer from the Toddler Delusion in an area of our life, whether that is relationships in our personal or professional life, the more of a toddler result we will get.

I have seen this in my own life in terms of how I have competed with people throughout my life because I wanted to be seen as better than them because that was how I thought people earned respect. Whether this was at school in terms of marks and exam results to business and wanting to make more money than others. The Toddler Delusion can also manifest in some seemingly innocuous situations such a being in a supermarket queue and getting in a huff because it's taking 2 minutes long than I expect it should, or not giving way to two cars on the road if I am in a frustrating traffic jam.

The Toddler Delusion is pretty much everywhere when you start to look for it, just look at the behaviour of politicians in Parliament! Closer to home you will start to see it particularly in personal relationships. This explains why researchers estimate divorce rates get worse for every subsequent marriage someone has (obviously assuming someone gets married more than once). In the USA it is estimated that 41% of first marriages end in divorce, 60% of second marriages end in divorce and 73% of third marriages end in divorce.

Furthermore, because of the Toddler Delusion in our own lives and the challenges of solving our own problems inside our front door, we then feel completely incapable of being able being part of the solution for societal or global problems such as dirty toxic water suffering which affects 800 million children globally.

If we don't deal with the Toddler Delusion within ourselves - this can lead to our levels of selfishness increasing leading to narcissism. This is defined as "an obsession with self, either partially obsessed or totally obsessed." For further information on the consequences of narcissism here is a great article by Lighthouse community member Sally Davis.

If you would like to learn more about the devastating impact of Toddler Delusion in your own life and how you can minimise and overcome it to achieve adult results as a consequence - in order to build extraordinary value inside and outside your front door contact a mentor here or feel free to email me at

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