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Leadership and Self-Deception

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Leadership and Self-Deception

Getting Out of the Box


15 min read
10 take-aways
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If you wish to do something, and don’t do it, you’re betraying yourself. Then you dodge recognizing what you’ve done. This is self-deception, which launches a cascade of alienation and insincerity, undermining your leadership and your relationships. You can fulfill your goals. Go back. Shakespeare had it right in the first place: “To thine own self be true.”

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Members of the Arbinger Institute have written an important book that has the potential to change the way you think, behave and live your life, both personally and professionally. This book simply and effectively addresses a core problem in human nature: self-deception. Presented as a series of conversations between two businessmen, one acting as a mentor to the other, the book walks you through the kinds of events that put you “in the box” of self-deception. Then, the book explains how you can get out of the box and, just as importantly, tells you how to avoid getting stuck in the box in the first place. The authors believe that self-deception is at the root of all conflict and lack of productivity. For that reason, recommends this book to all who are concerned about motivation.


Self-deception is so woven into everyone’s life that it determines all of your experiences.

Because self-deception affects every aspect of life, it is extremely pertinent to business and central to leadership. Generally, the public has not been aware of self-deception as an issue, though philosophers, scholars, and others who “work on the central questions of the human sciences” study it often. Public education about self-deception is long overdue, since it is central to everyone’s behavior, so pervasively woven into every aspect of life that it actually determines all of your experiences. [ note: The phrases “the Box,” “in the Box,” and “out of the Box” are used very specifically here, not to be confused with their use discussing other types of limiting thoughts or behaviors.]

To see self-deception at its most basic, look at this example from the earliest stages of life. Imagine that you are a baby learning to crawl. You begin by pushing yourself backward around the house. You end up under a piece of furniture and you thrash around, crying and banging your head against the sides and underside of the furniture. You’re stuck and you hate it. So, you do...

About the Author

The Arbinger Institute is a scholarly consortium and management training and consulting firm. It includes scholars, business leaders, and professionals who apply their experience and talents to writing about the sweeping implications of overcoming self-deception in all aspects of organizational, community and family life.

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