Friday, October 17, 2008

Why we hate to admit we made a mistake

Lason Perkins passed along a note after reading a post here from yesterday on Seth Godin's new book, "Tribes."

According to the book "Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me," most of us have heard the "learn from our mistakes" motto, but we don't genuinely feel that way.

For most of us, admitting that we've made mistakes would mean admitting that we're stupid.

Write the authors, "If you can admit a mistake when it is the size of an acorn, it's easier to repair than when it has become the size of a tree, with deep roots." In other words, recognizing a mistake early is the key to correcting it.

Based on Lason's email, I just ordered the book. As one reviewer wrote:

"[The authors] -- a dream team of two of psychology's greatest communicators -- investigate our self-serving explanations and malleable memories, explaining how well-meaning people stay the course when pursuing ill-fated ventures, then shuck responsibility when failure arrives."

As another describes it, "It's a story of how we pull the wool over our own eyes."