#015 Book Review: Leadership & Self-Deception

What if YOU were the solution to EVERY problem you have with your teen? The secret is, YOU ARE!

“Whenever we are in the box, we have a need that is met by others’ poor behavior. And so our boxes encourage more poor behavior in others, even if that behavior makes our lives more difficult.”
~ The Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

“The bigger problem was that I couldn’t see that I had a problem.”
~ Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

This book is all about YOUR relationship with others.

This is the #1 book that I recommend to others, parents, school leaders, EVERYONE!

Tons of people say, “Oh, I don’t like leadership books,” or “I don’t like self-improvement books.”

I get it, self-improvement books aren’t for everyone; BUT, this book is different!

It’s actually a fable, a made up story just to teach a lesson, and it’s so good.

The first time I read it, it blew my mind!

It completely changed my mindset and how I thought of others. It changed my relationship with my wife, my children, my foster kids, my students at school, and my co-workers. This book has changed my life!

So many times, when our relationship with others is struggling, we blame the other person. This book give you real tools to help YOU change. This book teaches life lessons that will change YOUR mindset, which will change everything for YOU!

This book will empower you!

It will give you hope for new possibilities, and it will inspire you and motivate you to try something different.

My Story on Getting Out of the Box.

It’s easy and natural to blame others. I was guilty of doing this. It was my go to habit.

When I first read Leadership and Self-Deception I was struggling as a husband, dad, church leader, young principal, . . .

. . . to be honest, I was struggling at life in general.

This book helped me start looking at myself and how I looked at others.

I realized that I was blaming others. They weren’t people who were trying their best; I saw them as people who were against me. Everyone was picking on me.

I was in the box towards EVERYONE, including myself!

Once I realized this, I was able to start realizing when I was in the box towards others. I was able to start getting out of the box by connecting to people right where they were.

Once I started accepting people as people, things quickly turned around in my life at home and at work.

Powerful examples from the book.

One of my favorite examples from the book was that of a teenager asking his mother if he could borrow the keys to the car. The mom didn’t really want him to borrow the car, but she allowed him to borrow the care with an earlier curfew. She was sure that he would be home late.

When he came home, right on time, she criticized him for cutting it close. She was looking for something to be upset at.

I catch myself doing this too.

I set boundaries for my teen and then criticize his efforts to live within those boundaries. When I’m out of the box I can see this as an opportunity to praise him for his efforts.

I love the description fo “Self -Betrayal”


“Self-betrayal” 1. An act contrary to what I feel I should do for another is called an act of “self-betrayal.” 2. When I betray myself, I begin to see the world in a way that justifies my self-betrayal. 3. When I see the world in a self-justifying way, my view of reality becomes distorted. 4. So — when I betray myself, I enter the box.”
~ Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

I also like the example of having the urge to get up in the night to care for a baby, and then talking yourself out of doing that, while villinizing the other person for not doing what you had the urge to do.

Again, I am guilty of doing this. I often have the thought, “It would be nice if I . . .[insert kind act] . . .” And then, I talk myself out of doing it, and then I spend my thought power justifying that.

It can be incredibly hard to get out of the box, but it is possible and it will change E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!

So, what can you do now?

Start taking responsibility for YOUR problem when it comes to your relationsips with others.

Have a desire to get out of the box and change your relationship with your teen.

If you want to watch a quick recap of this book, check out this YouTube video by clicking the video below:

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