What a way to end 30 credit hours of graduate work but with having to read Leadership and Self-Deception (The Arbinger Institute)! I should have known the classwork phase of my Master’s program wouldn’t end without serious provocation. Instead, I’m forced to stumble and fumble with the feeling…I am the problem. Go figure!
I am taken back to a phrase that, in certain respects, haunts. I’ve never forgotten it. I remember thinking, “I’m in the box. I’m in the box. I’m in the box.”
The truth is, whether we realize it or not, most of us are “in the box.” This is Arbinger’s way of saying:
- You are deceived.
- You are blinded by, as well as to your own faults.
- You are caught in a trap of trying to preserve yourself.
- You’ll shift blame elsewhere before you think you might be part of the problem.
Most are “in the box” and don’t know it. Many of us are in it, we know it (thanks to having read the book) and hate the thought of getting out of it. There is simply too much at stake. Get out of the box and everything changes. Getting out the box demands that I change.
I was given this book several years ago, after attending a Ministers Support Network retreat. In fact, we were given numerous books as gifts, but this one was one upon which added emphasis had been placed. It still stands as the toughest book I’ve ever had to read. I don’t mean it is difficult reading. In fact, it’s actually difficult to put down. I’m suggesting that the toughness has to do with accepting what it says.
It’s truth- hardcore, no punches pulled, and vexing kind of truth. It’s the kind of truth that makes you want to stand up and fight. The problem is that it makes you want to kick it in the gut because of what it has done to you.
It makes sense, though. But worse, it has a way of making you really feel stupid for resisting it. But resisting it is the natural, first response. And that is why I hate it. I feel like Tony Horton in the intro to P90X’s AbRipper X video. He says, “AbRipper X. I hate it, but I love it!”
If you’ve never read it, you need to. If you think everyone else is the problem, and you are the panacea to everything that is wrong in the world, you need it more than anybody. Unfortunately, I’ve actually now given you a reason to never go near it. Go ahead, though, be a coward. Live in your own world. The laugh is on you.
But if you are the kind of person that is actually searching for real solutions, then this book is for you. It will encourage you to begin where you should. You’ll begin with YOU.