Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday Thinking - When You're the Only One That Doesn't Know

Ty and Michelle gave us Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute for Christmas.

The book helps you to see where you're fooling yourself.  It helps you to see where your perceptions are warped and what you're missing.  I started reading the book last Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon I had this experience:     

I was in the foyer after church waiting for Calvin.  I sat down on the couch next to a little boy and asked him and a little girl standing next to him how their Christmases were.  They were both 11 years old.    The little girl said hers was wonderful and, obviously pleased. showed me a brand new iPod with a blue cover.

The little boy said, "Mine was boring," and I thought, Oh, you must be one of those spoiled kids who gets something every time your folks go to the grocery store.  That'll ruin Christmas for you alright.  I just saw a whole new batch of iPhones in kids' hands a minute ago (whose families really struggle financially) and you must have wanted more than just an iPhone.

I said, "Boring?  How can Christmas be boring?"

He said, "I only got one present."

Me, still thinking his present was probably an iPhone (and I guess I find all wonder and amazement in an iPhone because I don't have one), said, "One present?  Well, what was it?"

He:  "A car."

Me:  "Oh.  A car.  A special kind of car?"

He:  "A motor one."

Me:  "A remote control car?"

He wasn't pleased with it and I wondered if it still worked, but he interrupted . . .

He:  "Yes.  But I'm luckier than my sister.  She's 13 and she didn't even get one present.  The new church we found (they must be church shopping as I'd never seen him before) only gives presents to kids and they said she was too old."

Me:  Wondering what to say to that.  "Oh . . . well . . . that certainly is a bummer.  I can see why Christmas wasn't very fun for you.  (Pause.)  Did you get to eat tamales?"  As if tamales was a suitable consolation prize for no gifts.

He:  "Yes.  But I had to go to my cousin's cousins and she's mean.  She hits my little brother.  She doesn't like him."

The little girl chimed in at this point and said, "Yeah, but sometimes your brother is bad," and he said, "But she doesn't need to hit him so much."

And that was the end of the conversation.  Others came and interrupted us and the kids got ready to go.  As I walked to the car I thought of Leadership and Self-Deception and how my perception of the boy was established after he said one word.  Boring.  How in the world did I come to think I had a corner on the market of human behavior and could pen him so quickly as I did?

My experience reminded me of this video.  This lady and I be mates.  We thought we saw ourselves so clearly and then walked in front of a virtual mirror and realized we're not nearly as fit and trim as we told ourselves we were.  

I finished Leadership and Self-Deception yesterday and highly recommend it.  It appears to have been very successful in the business world, I think it would make a great family discussion book, and I know it will be a help to me in my personal life.  I both appreciated and enjoyed it.  Thanks Ty and Michelle.


Lucy said...

I think I am guilty of this all the time. It try not to judge. I know, in my head, how horrible it is to think you know somebody, anybody, based on what they say or do or wear, and need this reminder more than anyone. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Lucy said...

PS. It's like a Christmas present not having to type in a word verification to leave a comment!!!!!!!!

Jill said...

Hey I'm 2/3 of the way through that book right now and am blown away by how "in the box" I am with some of relationships! Shockingly I have felt totally justified (for years) but have now been blown to bits (in a good way).

Jill said...

P.S. I am disturbed that so many kids have iPhones though, it seems indulgent and dangerous...but what do I know?

Deidra said...

I think it's high time I re-read that book. It's been several years, and I'm surely in need of a tune-up.

Over the past six months or so, I've realized how quickly I judge people. Only to find out they are nothing like I think they are and their histories are so different than I could have ever guessed. And yet, it persists. Every time I'm bowled over at how wrong I can be.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's so good, Jane. I always buy the books you recommend and I'm always glad I did!

Our grandson (J.D. Hunsaker) will finish officers' training in GA in 6 weeks. I wonder if he might meet Abe at church or something.

Wishing you and all your family a wonderful new
year! Loye & Vaughn

Heather Williams said...

I read that book in is a great book and does make you realize that first impressions are never a good judge of character. In fact, one of my goal is to be less judgemental of others, what a great video you shared that depicted this. You are such a great example of somebody that finds the good in anything! and everyone! What a great example you are to me!

Ande said...

I can't wait to start the book. I wonder what Malcolm Gladwell would have to say about it.

Michelle said...

Great story and incredible video. Through recent events, I've let my guard down, and have found myself being incredibly judgmental. So I made a New Year's resolution. :) I just bookmarked that video on my computer so I can watch it frequently this year. Thank you for sharing. Love you.

Tina said...

Hey, I started that book once, then I loaned it to a co-worker, which reminds me I don't think I ever got it back!!

Linda said...

Thanks for the recommendation Jane. I randomly browse and 'read' bits and blogs etc every so often. The public library had the book. I finished it in an day or so (with interruptions) and agree. It assuredly IS a worthwhile read... I may have to read it again.