Leadership & Self-Deception

We are in boxes

All of us really, but

We can all get out.



My experience reading the book can be separated into 3 parts. The first impressions before reading it, the actual process of reading it, and the post (and stunned) reflection. When I first got the book and the title I thought it would be about how we deceive ourselves into thinking we are not capable of certain things, or of being leaders and how this is not true. I thought it would be a motivational book all about happy feelings. One could even say that in a way, I was in the box towards this book and the experience I would get out of it. I was looking at this title and the book and immediately assumed something from it that would fit my own needs. I truly had judged a book by its cover.


My experiences with this book had not gotten off to a good start (although I did not know that at the moment), and when it came to the process of reading it, things did not get any easier. While the way the book was written made it a little hard for me to follow and get the main ideas out, that was not my biggest struggle. As I was reading the book and going along with Tom’s (the main character in the story) process of self discovery, I found myself aligning and recalling examples of my own that fit self deception. Choices I had made that had made me be in the box towards someone, and in some cases I could recognize myself as being in the box towards someone, but could not trace it back. I had spent too much time in the box. While Tom was quick to defend himself, I began feeling panic and anxiety over past behaviors (not something that I’m unfamiliar with). As the book progressed, my experience changed with it as it looked more hopeful. Getting out of the box did not seem like it was something impossible, but rather something that I could work towards.


After reading the book, I had to had some reflection time in order to be able to truly digest what I had experienced. While it might seem cheesy, reading this truly gave me a new outlook in life and I was excited to work on myself so I could improve my relationships with other people. It may sound like a simple thing, to consider others as people but the way this book put it with the concrete examples shed a different light on that. I have begun to have conversations with my parents using this philosophy and we have managed to get to a deeper level and more common ground of understanding of little things so far, but I am excited to see how else this may grow in this relationship and in relationships with students that I work with. Something I liked about the book was that it makes it clear that it is not necessary to know someone or have a relationship with them in order to be in the box towards them. We can be in the box towards people we come into direct or indirect contact with everyday and recognizing those moments is something that will help us be generally more out of the box people (although no one really is ever completely out of the box permanently).