The Question Matters

The Lies of Tiger Woods

Posted in Leadership,Next Generation Leaders,People Watching by treyfinley1008 on December 3, 2009

Once you start to think about it, the list of situations in which people resolve cognitive dissonance through rationalisations becomes ever longer and longer. If you’re honest with yourself, I’m sure you can think of many times when you’ve done it yourself. I know I can.

Being aware of this can help us avoid falling foul of the most dangerous consequences of cognitive dissonance: believing our own lies.

–Read the entire article on Psyblog

I’m Smarter Than Tiger Woods

I’m realistic, perhaps even a bit jaded.  I’ve seen too many smart people make dumb decisions.  I’ve made some dumb decisions myself, ones that I’d like to have back if I could.  When a brilliant businessman and athlete admits that he underestimated the tabloid press’ ability to dig up his dirt, and when we overhear his awkward voice mail, conveniently kept by someone who gave it up for the right price, it leaves us scratching our collective head.

Of course the tabloids will hound a public figure until they can bring him down!  Of course that waitress didn’t care about your career and your marriage!  How naive can you be?

Are You Sure About That?

Before we hang Tiger by his own mistakes, let’s exercise some wisdom.  What lies did he tell himself?  Did he tell himself that he was strong enough to resist the hordes of women who would do just about anything to gain his, ahem, undivided attention?  Did he convince himself that even if he was caught, it wouldn’t affect his business and endorsement deals?  Did he simply cease caring if he got caught or not, or if there were consequences to his multiple relationships?

Wait, you say, I don’t have women/men fawning over me.  I don’t have nine-figure endorsement deals at stake.  Me neither.

But perhaps I’ve had a relationship that I’m just certain would survive my careless disregard for its value.  Perhaps I’ve put myself at risk because I’m certain I can’t fail.  I’ve been careless.  Tiger is human, no matter how much you and I would like for him and others like him to be superhuman.  We look to figures like Tiger Woods hoping that they will overcome our fears that failure is inevitable.  And then, when it turns out they make common mistakes, too, we complain, condemn, and condescend.

Leaders neither quickly condemn nor overlook their own potential shortcomings, their own ability to lie to themselves.  And they surround themselves with friends who care too much about that friendship to lie to one another.  Adultery isn’t a crime, though it comes with painful consequences.  Lying to yourself and to others is a crime.  It’s perjury, and it’s a punishable offense.  It’s punishment for which Tiger, like all of us who succumb to our ability to lie to ourselves, must pay restitution.


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