Denial. Everyone does it. You might be doing it right now, saying to yourself that you never have been in denial.
This article is for you.
Today, we’re going to deal with the importance of denial and some methods to understand and solve it.
Psychologically, denial is a mechanism that results from conflicts with the ability to cope with reality. Many contemporary psychoanalysts treat denial as part of the coping cycle to face an unwelcome change. A difficult aspect of denial as opposed to, say, simple lying is that much of it can be unconscious and thus more difficult to change.
There is an immutable fact about denial: It does not work long-term as a problem-solving mechanism. Reality always wins. And when it does, the next step in the process is often unfortunately blame, which shifts responsibility onto someone or something else. “I only did it because of you! If you hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have done this.”
So, where there’s denial, blame is always available to ease the pain when reality bites. Here are some examples:
- When we engage in improper behavior, stress and discomfort sometimes encourage us to just forget it. We laugh at kids making excuses, but we can do the same thing.
- We frequently experience denial when we hear bad news in situations like work, health, or family.
- One of the most apparent examples of denial is our love of our sports teams. We start every season thinking our team will win the championship when the reality is there is about 2-5 percent mathematical chance that our team will win.
Sometimes, less than 2-5 percent.
- We ignore bad news. Beware of personal bias and seek to minimize it. When you go into an experience, it’s only human to assume that a certain result is going to occur. Be careful, though! It’s easy to interpret data in a way that supports your preconceived notion.
Despite the pervasiveness of denial, don’t fear! There are tools to avoid or resolve it. Here are some of the best:
Put Things In Writing
Getting proposals, checking references, doing research, and other objective feedback can frequently at least verify actions that we simply want to accept. Several research studies have that simply writing simple notes can relieve and result in better problem solving.
Seek Out Feedback and Measurement
Organizations need to be open to measurement and feedback. Observing, understanding and sharing financials, operations reports, and sales reports are the first step.
Simple research studies that social media can provide are tools to use regularly. A management style such as the “walk around” and asking simply, “How are you doing, is there anything you need?” can be priceless.
You need a commitment to open communication. One of the investors on “Shark Tank” had simple advice for an entrepreneur who wouldn’t stop talking: Stop talking and listen!
Look for alternatives and have “what if” discussions. What is the competition doing? What are alternative solutions? And how is the market and environment changing? – All issues you should regularly review. In particular, you should conduct regular reviews of your goals, progress, accomplishments, and challenges.
In short, recognize that we all experience denial, and the most difficult part is that we don’t recognize it. Thus, it is important to develop safeguards to recognize, test, and avoid it.
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