“MISTAKES WERE MADE (but not by ME)”
©2007 by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) is an insightful, sometimes funny, yet sobering look at why we’re so quick to justify our beliefs, behaviors and action, sometimes at the cost of honesty, reason and self-respect. Authors Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson weave brain science into dozens of examples of how people justify the unjustifiable — at work, in marriage, in friendships, in war, even in our own hearts and souls. “The engine that drives self-justification…is an unpleasant feeling…called ‘cognitive dissonance.’”
In other words, we justify ourselves because it’s just too darned uncomfortable to live with competing brain maps clashing in our heads. Mistakes Were Made is one of a small handful of books I consider life-changing.
Anyone who’s ever made a mistake and had a hard time with the consequences is likely to benefit from reading this book. It gave me new tools for 1) thinking about and responding to my own mistakes and missteps, 2) understanding what’s going on when others justify theirs and 3) developing a more generous spirit around our very human need to justify. Highly recommended!
Are mistakes hard for you to accept, or are you one of those rare birds who take them in stride—or does it depend on what kind of mistake?