When Your Inner Voice Leads You Down Narrow Holes

I’ve convinced myself that I was right only to find myself squirming to escape a narrow hole. The idea that your inner voice always leads you in the right direction leads to self-deception, self-justification, and eventually self-destruction.

Inexperience underestimates challenges and overestimates results – often with confidence.

A clear inner voice helps when reflecting on personal values. But intuition is fallible. Is your intuition right when your inner critic is on a rampage?

Reject your inner voice when:

#1. Hot emotion pollutes perspective.

Anger’s bosom buddy is blame.

You focus on things others should do, not on things you should do while anger grips you. Expecting more from others than you expect from yourself defeats leaders.

An angry person justifies absurd conclusions.

Question your inner voice when others always need to change, but you don’t. The easy question is, “How should they change?” The hard question is, “How might I be part of the problem?”

Anger seeks its own advantage. But leaders ask, “How might I advantage others?”

#2. Feeling superior contaminates judgement.

Reject your inner voice when it whispers, “You’re the smartest person at the table.”

All know-it-alls climb down narrow holes.

Confidence has little to do with reality when you feel superior to others. And remember, your IQ stayed the same and your EQ went down when you were promoted.

When you feel superior, tell your inner voice to say, “I might not be as smart as I think I am.” Or, “These people are, in some ways, smarter than me.” (If the latter isn’t true, find a new team.)

A leader who thinks others are always the problem is the problem.

We don’t see ourselves clearly when we’re acting in self-destructive ways.

When might your inner voice be wrong?

How might leaders protect themselves against self-deception?

Bonus material:

When Intuition Misfires (APA)

Daniel Kahneman: Your Intuition Is Wrong, Unless These 3 Conditions Are Met (ThinkAdvisor)

Recommended reading: Thinking: Fast and Slow (Kahneman)