Learning from self-betrayals

The blogosphere is an open range where we can learn from whomever we feel like. We can add or drop subscriptions on our whim and read through or delete an unread posting by our own choice. The blogosphere is also a free firing range where we can get shot down or get holes shot through our assertions. George Siemens recently mentioned (in a keynote he gave in Ohio) how Malcolm Gladwell has come under fire from bloggers who are challenging the "pop psychology" assertions he made in his most recent book: Blink.

When we are getting shot down, it's easy to feel victimized. It's not obvious what we did to deserve this or how to avoid a reoccurrence. This is a reoccurring issue with the entrepreneurs I mentor. There's a psychological explanation that offers some comfort and perspective. I call this my "perfect monster theory".

It's human nature to flip-flop from not knowing something to being a "know-it-all". We make a thing of being right even when it's not an effective strategy. We become over confident, which comes across to others as arrogant, conceited and inflated. We are asking for trouble at this stage of our understanding. The perfect monster comes along and bursts our bubble, shoots us down or humbles our self-righteousness.

When we are asking for this kind of trouble, our thinking is under-developed. We may be idealizing something or awfulizing, demonizing or catastrophizing something else. We are defending a positional stance against another -- instead of seeing how interests are shared and common ground exists. We are making ourselves right at other's expense and lacking empathy, insight and compassion for others.

If we process our monstrous experience and come to new realizations, we see our self-betrayal. We were being hypocritical and failing to walk our talk. We preached a good message without practicing what we preached. We fell for correcting others without providing the worthy example to imitate. We settled for getting the idea right without the follow through that takes action accordingly.

When we go one step further, we find gratitude for the monster: "thanks I needed that". We realize we cannot catch our own self-delusions. We need to be caught, challenged and contradicted -- to uncover errors in our assertions. The blogosphere looks like a wonderful place for working through our self-betrayals. It's crawling with perfect monsters!

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