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Chapter 16. Strategic Thinking Part Two > Key Idea #5: We Must Become Sensitive...

Key Idea #5: We Must Become Sensitive to the Egocentrism of Those Around Us

Because human beings are, by nature, egocentric and few are aware of how to exercise control over their egocentric thinking, it is important that we develop the ability to recognize egocentrism in the thinking of those around us. We must recognize, though, that even highly egocentric people sometimes act rationally, so we must be careful not to stereotype. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to expect that everyone will behave irrationally sometimes, so we must learn to evaluate behavior in an open-minded, yet realistic, way. When we understand the logic of egocentrism, when we become adept at identifying its self-serving patterns, we can begin to master it.

We draw a distinction between attacking our own irrationality and attacking that of others. Often with others we must bite our tongue, as it were, and distance ourselves from people who are fundamentally irrational. Or, at least, we must learn to deal with their egocentrism indirectly. Few people will thank us for pointing out egocentrism in their thinking. The more egocentric people are, the more resistant they are to owning it. The more power egocentric people have, the more dangerous they are. As rational persons, then, we learn to better deal with the irrationality of others rather than be controlled or manipulated by it.


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