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Self-Deception: Feeling Right and Being Wrong

You can feel completely right and be absolutely wrong. Unnerving isn’t it?

Self-deception is most likely when:

#1. Entrenched ideas are challenged.

Your mind is closed about things you’re certain about.

Imagine the first time someone suggested the earth was round.

By the way, Christopher Columbus wasn’t worried about sailing off the edge of the earth. Long before he sailed for China, Greek scholars like Pythagoras and Aristotle had determined the Earth was round.”

Learning is discovering you don’t know.

#2. Hot emotion or offense is involved.

An offended person can’t see clearly.

It’s easier to defend feeling offended than let it go. Once you take up an offense, it takes humility to put it down.

Offended people aren’t humble.

#3. People disappoint you.

When someone disappoints you, it’s easy to know what THEY did wrong and what THEY should do. But managers and leaders contribute to the poor performance of others, even if it’s hard to own.

#4. Decisions have been made.

We naturally seek out information or evidence that confirms our beliefs, values, or decisions.

A firm decision creates confirmation bias.

Knowing what others should do:

It’s fun learning how others should change.

One of my biggest self-deceptions is knowing what others should do – long before considering what I should do. This is especially true when it comes to reading.

Have you ever read a book with someone else in mind? Boy! “She could really use this.”

It’s easier to apply a new idea to someone else than to correct your own habits.

The possibility of self-deception calls for humility.

Today’s challenge is saying to yourself, “I could be wrong.”

When are people most likely to be self-deceived?

What helps us overcome self-deception?

Bonus material:

I first explored self-deception when I read, “Leadership and Self-Deception.” Yesterday, I had a conversation with Nate Regier about self-deception; it’s a chapter in his new book, “Seeing People Through.”


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