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Living a Lie: We Deceive Ourselves to Better Deceive Others

Reality Distortion

Reality Distortion

Most of us have evolved to overestimate our positive qualities, as it feels good. This ‘self-enhancement’ is done with the right intentions but is nothing more than a reality distortion in our minds.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Living a Lie: We Deceive Ourselves to Better Deceive Others

Living a Lie: We Deceive Ourselves to Better Deceive Others

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/living-a-lie-we-deceive-ourselves-to-better-deceive-others/

scientificamerican.com

4

Key Ideas

Our Delusions

Most people are misleading themselves all the time. Our biases, our ego and our mental traps have held us captive, unable to endorse or support anything that shakes our cage. We believe we are smart, good looking, and can do no wrong.

The truth is that our mind’s information-gathering, reasoning and recollections are inherently biased.

Reality Distortion

Most of us have evolved to overestimate our positive qualities, as it feels good. This ‘self-enhancement’ is done with the right intentions but is nothing more than a reality distortion in our minds.

Self-Deceptions

We all form impressions about ourselves, and once those impressions have been formed, they stick. It is as if once they are frozen in our minds, having become a part of us, and we don’t want to lose them, even if they are proven to be false.

Example: A study on high school boys showed that having overconfidence (or self-deception) in one’s abilities (athletic or academic) made them popular, even if they weren't really better in any of those abilities.

Fooling Yourself To Fool Others

If a person believes in himself completely, he is able to use that belief to his advantage.

Self-deception is often the first step to convincing and persuading others. It is about one’s inner motivations, and not about what’s right. Many people depend on this tool to advance their careers. Being self-motivated is the only way others can be motivated.

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The Illusion of Explanatory Depth

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How to Win an Argument

If you want to win an argument, simply ask the person trying to convince you of something to explain how it would work.

Chances are they have not done the work required to hold an opinion. If they can explain why they are correct and how things would work, you'll learn something. If they can't you'll soften their views, perhaps nudging them ever so softly toward your views.

To Persuade or Convince

When people disagree with us we assume they are ignorant … that they lack information. So we try to convince them with information. It seldom works.

  • Persuasion appeals to the emotions and to fear and to the imagination. Convincing requires a spreadsheet or some other rational device.
  • It’s much easier to persuade someone if they’re already convinced, but it’s impossible to change someone’s mind merely by convincing them of your point.

3 more ideas

Our reasons for lying

Where lying is concerned, we just can't seem to help ourselves. 

We lie for two reasons: behavioral conditioning and cognitive evolutionary biology.

Behavioral conditioning

Lying keeps us hooked because we enjoy the reward. The outcomes are unpredictable.
Lying is reinforced every time we get away with it. 

Cognitive evolutionary biology

Lying is a valuable tool in our survival kit. We can spare someone's feelings or build social standing. Lying can keep us out of trouble or even save our lives.

Practicing deception starts as early as six months of age such as fake crying or laughter. But people only start to get good at it after another four years where they learn to let go of the unbelievable lies and settle for what kind of lies work. 

Vision and Inspiration

Some leaders create a vision of the future yet fail to move people into action. They fail to articulate and communicate their vision. Few buy into the vision; fewer truly follow.

In contra...

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe."

To inspire others, leaders must be:

  • Trusted: with a vision that emphasises altruism, social responsibility and the inclusion of followers is likely to inspire followers. 
  • Believable: people are motivated if they have purpose. The leader’s vision helps employees to see their purpose in the workplace. And the most effective vision is one that takes account of the interests of stakeholders.
  • Passionate: inspiring others isn’t easy. Inspiring others when you are passionate about the subject is easier. Your passion will inspire others if you express it.