Are you deceiving yourself? Let me count the ways.

Until recently I was deceiving myself and I had no idea. That’s the insidiousness of self-deception as described in the book Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute. You can be deceiving yourself, and be the source of many problems in your life and your relationships with others, and never know about it.

It tells the story of Tom in parable form as he learns about the material in the book. As readers we journey with him.

I once heard someone say that if you’ve not read this book you should read it. If you’ve not read it in the last six months, you should read it again. My most recent read was about my fifth (a few reads and a couple of runs through the audiobook). You’re thinking, “Why would I need to read a book so many times?” As I said, I’ve read it before yet it took this read to be deeply connected with the book. One morning I found myself almost shaking as my mind, emotions and body reconfigured themselves to the realisations I was having.

In short, the premise of the material is that we can be blinded to how we are seeing others in a way that causes us to treat them as objects rather than people. When we are doing that our thoughts and behaviours conspire to keep us treating them the same way and we find examples of their behaviour that justifies our poor behaviour.

There have been many times under Covid-19 where I have been very, excruciatingly angry with some people around me. I knew I was angry and am now ashamed at how I was demeaning them in my mind. More so, I would have conversations with others to actively recruit them to my way of thinking.

Leadership and Self-Deception helped me see that I was deceiving myself and show me what was really going on. That was a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve been mostly unflappable. People that would trigger me no longer do and I’ve felt relaxed and certainly far less angry than I’ve been. That’s a good thing for me, and a better thing for those around me.

If you’ve not read Leadership and Self-Deception, please read it. If you’ve read it before and haven’t in the last six months, please read it again.

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