I just down loaded Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) to my Kindle. It’s about cognitive dissonance theory and how we (people) will defend our position even in the face of compelling contrary evidence in order to protect our perceptions of self.
I am enjoying it so far. I see many areas where cognitive dissonance afflicts sales, sales leaders and entrepreneurs. This passage sums it up well:
The brain is design with blind spots, optical and psychological, and one of its cleverest tricks is to confer on us the comforting delusion that we, personally, do not have any. In a sense, dissonance theory is a theory of blind spots — of how and why people unintentionally blind themselves so that they fail to notice vital events and information that might make them question their behavior or their convictions. Along with the confirmation bias, the brain comes packaged with other self-serving habits that allow us to justify our own perceptions and beliefs as being accurate, realistic, and unbiased. Social psychologist Lee Ross calls this phenomenon “naive realism,” the inescapable conviction that we perceive objects and events clearly, “as they really are.” We assume that other reasonable people see things the same way we do. If they disagree with us, they obviously aren’t seeing clearly. Naive realism creates a logical labyrinth because it presupposes two things: One, people who are open-minded and fair ought to agree with a reasonable opinion. And two, any opinion I hold must be reasonable; if it weren’t, I wouldn’t hold it. Therefore, if I can just get my opponents to sit down here and listen to me, so I can tell them how things really are, they will agree with me. And if they don’t it must be because they are biased.
How many times do you see entreprenuers or sales people convince themselves of things. Clinging to the idea they are right, flying in the face of contrary data? This book is going to be fun. I will share passages and quotes along the way. I look forward to your thoughts and some good dialog.