Pretty Lies

Dec 16, 2008 by

Pretty Lies

Recently I’ve been reading a book entitled “Leadership and Self-deception” which describes a pattern of rationalization and self-justification not just at a personal level but at a leadership level. The author calls this self-deception a disease which is an amazing statement giving tangible attributes to behavior based problem. I call it “pretty lies“.

We all tell ourselves pretty lies on a daily basis. Rationalizations that allow us to continue doing our daily actions without ever needing to look at the real underlying reasons, feeling the emotions tied to our lies, or examine the belief systems that got us here in the first place.

But the thinking and beliefs that got us here and give birth to these pretty lies is not the thinking and beliefs that will get us to where we want to be. So the question is

“How do we stop lying to ourselves when lying feels so good?”

It is the same question as what is posed in the “Leadership and Self-Deception” book.

Well that is a damn good question and is a core concept I am exploring in this blog. The search for the truth, the Red-pill/Blue-pill Matrix question.

Awareness is the first step in the process. Awareness that your behavior is in opposition to your words. When you say X, but behave Y, you are telling yourself a lie that supports Y (ie. saying I’m not a smoker while puffing away on a cigarette).

Awareness that your behavior is guiding you in a direction different than your words (ie. education is important to me, but I’m taking two years off to travel).

So, look at your behaviors. If they are different they your words, change your words to fit your behaviors. Your behaviors are demonstrating what you really want. I know that is tough, but describe to yourself your behaviors, as clearly as possible. Now look at your words and you’ll discover your lies. The disconnect between your behavior and your words.

Now here comes the fun part. CHANGE ONE … EITHER CHANGE YOUR WORDS, OR CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR … BUT YOUR WORDS AND YOUR BEHAVIOR NEED TO MATCH.

I guarantee you’ll get the following: “Do I really behave like that?” and “Do I really believe that?”

The sudden congruence between words and actions is frightening. The truth staring you in the mirror is nerve wracking.

But it is this congruence that makes all the difference.

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale

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