Self-Deception: Success’s TRUE Nemesis (How to Fail, part 2a)

Note: This was originally going to be the 2nd article in a 3 part series, but my wife suggested to me that part 2 is too long — and she is right — so I’m breaking part 2 into smaller, more readable sections (2a, 2b, 2c, etc.).

Part 1: How to Fail in Basketball and in Life
Part 2a: Self-Deception: Success’s TRUE Nemesis (this article)


Failure is not a fatal disease. Self-deception, however, can be.

“I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it is an illusion to me. Failure always made me try harder next time.” – Michael Jordan

The following clip is hilarious because it is true: sometimes we really do fixate on just a small part of our reality and fail to see the bigger picture, the information that puts the negative in its proper context.

“Self-deception prevents us from correctly interpreting the data failure is trying to provide us to guide our way” (–Tom Pittman 7).

Self-deception says someone else is to blame when in truth there were options you chose not to take that could have made a difference.

Self-deception says your motives, not your actions, are what mattered. They both matter.

Self-deception says what you don’t know won’t hurt you, when in reality a decision is only as good as the information it was based on.

Self-deception says you are the exception to the rule, when in truth you are trying to justify why you try to circumvent a natural law.

Self-deception hijacks our honest efforts and undermines our strengths.

Self-deception leads you to believe you aren’t good enough, when the truth is you aren’t good enough… yet. And…

Self-DeceptionSelf-deception leads you to believe you are Air Jordan when “Error Jordan” might be closer to the truth.

Self-deception leads you to demand that a fireplace give you heat, then you’ll give it some wood.

Self-deception tricks us into misdiagnosing what is wrong, thus causing us to apply remedies that don’t treat the real problem. Self-deception says things are fine when in reality changes are urgently needed. And self-deception tells us to make changes when in reality we are on the verge of breaking through if we would but stay the course and persist.

When we are optimistic, we tend to convince ourselves that what we want to be true just happens to be. When we are pessimistic, we think life is out to get us. Either way, we are deceiving ourselves when are predisposed to seeing only half of the truth, be it either the positive or the negative, for a “half-truth” is by definition half lie.

Frighteningly, self-deception is a stealth cancer growing among healthy tissue; we may not even realize we have it or how serious it is, but left untreated, self-deception can ultimately prove fatal to our dreams.

Moreover, self-deception is as addicting as it is toxic, so we must be ever vigilant to get a clear, complete picture of our circumstances, and to ‘be real,’ and honest with ourselves.

What does all this have to do with basketball? Please stick with me and you will see.

The number of ways we deceive ourselves may be infinite, so in the following posts, I’m going to discuss just some of the ways I’ve seen people deal with failure.

Hopefully, if we can recognize the symptoms, we can get on with the cure.

The first form of self-deception is to simply be unaware, which leads us to…

Part 2b: Unawareness: Success’s Blind Side.

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