Infinite Potential

Whose Problem Is This?

February 8th, 2016


When a problem is present in our lives, self-deception can lie at the heart of understanding the nature of the problem. The two basic forms of self-deception are “The problem is ME, and I can’t see it”, made famous in the book, “Leadership and Self Deception” and “The problem is NOT ME, but I think it is.”, and is touched upon in the book, “The Anatomy of Peace” which will be the focus of this article.

The Essence

Take a moment and think about the last time a conflict demanded your attention. Is it clear which form of self-deception held you back? Knowing not only the characteristics, but also knowing what signs to look for and what actions to take once you have identified the self-deception can have profound implications.
The first step in avoiding challenges in your personal and professional life is to be able to distinguish between these two forms of self-deception. Not having a clear distinction for yourself will almost assure that many of the challenges that you are facing are of your own creation, and you are unlikely to recognize that, hence self-deception.

With the help of Infinite Potential, you will become clear about when and how self-deception occurs in your life. The Infinite Potential approach can help you become a powerful force for good in your life, enlivened by a spirit of helpfulness, and the skills to leave a lasting, positive impact on the world and others.

Distinguishing the Problem

Do you find yourself characteristically saying things like, “It MUST have been something I did.”? If so, your tendency may be to see yourself at fault for the problems that arise in your life.

As a manager, this can be your nemesis. Taking responsibility for others actions can get in the way of giving constructive feedback and holding others accountable.

For instance, instead of giving someone constructive criticism about not doing their job very well, you might say to yourself, “If I had only trained them better”.
So often you might deepen a problem because you feel guilty about not taking action sooner. Ironically, instead of admitting guilt and rectifying the issue, you do nothing which leads to even greater problems. This is a vicious circle of self-deception. Vicious circles might be a red flag for your own self- deception, and should not be ignored or overlooked.

By its very nature, the vicious circles that result from self- deception can be difficult to “think” your way out of. There can be a circular reasoning that traps you. Your feelings, such as guilt, keep you from doing something different. Einstein said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He was right, not doing something different, you don’t change. Not changing, you avoid or repeat the problem. See where we are going here?

On the behavioral level, getting out of these vicious circles seems to always take an act of courage. Many times it involves an act “contrary to our emotions” and it demonstrates how deceptive our emotions can be. For instance, if you are guilty about not having done enough, it takes courage to approach someone and honestly share with them that you want to help them become more successful at their job.

On a deeper level the solution often involves meeting others, “person to person”. Meaning, as a person, I am going to approach “the other” as a person with a true willingness to discover what a situation needs, including what I could be doing better. This is a unique quality we can experience with great collaboration with others. However, this change is not simply at the behavioral level, it reflects a different way of “showing up” with others. It reflects how we are being, not just what we are doing. This usually involves a change of heart, not just a change in behavior. A change of heart can be the greatest act of courage.

The coaching at Infinite Potential fosters and supports the greatest acts of courage.

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Leadership and Self Deception

First three chapters:

Amazon ordering information and reviews:


The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

First couple chapters:

Amazon ordering information and reviews: