This is a great post and a great story by Shankar Vedantam about how easily we can fool ourselves… and the impact that fooling can have on our perceptions of how things are. And so our perception goes, so too do we, and society, and organizations, go.
It’s a great exploration, I won’t ruin it by trying to summarize it, so do check it out. His telling of his swimming trip is excellent, very relatable to many instances in my life and, I’d wager, in just about everyone’s life. We’ve had experiences like this, where we’ve come face to face with a seemingly strange incongruence like that, where we’ve been brought face to face with our own ability to fool ourselves. What he’s inviting is for us to realize that it’s not just in that moment that we fooled ourselves, but it’s all over the place. It’s one of the wonderful aspects of being human, the hidden biases that are both overt (like racism) and covert (like the book and radio piece I linked to here: https://lynxthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/double-astuteness/)
And it ain’t bad that we have those biases – they’re just something we humans are very capable of. And when we become aware, we gain power to create what we really want.
“Good people are not those who lack flaws, the brave are not those who feel no fear, and the generous are not those who never feel selfish. Extraordinary people are not extraordinary because they are invulnerable to unconscious biases. They are extraordinary because they choose to do something about it.”