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The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control

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Deferential Self

We might assume that other people are indifferent with regard to our interests and needs—or even our stories. This is the case when I genuinely assume that another person (or other people in general) don’t want to know much about me—or at least specific aspects of myself. I fear being “boring,” “too talkative,” “too self-occupied.” This is different from the “false modesty” ploy in which we bring attention to our self indirectly by deferring in a rather public manner to another person (“Oh, I’m not important. You are the one who deserves accolades.”) We are talking here about genuinely held assumptions of disinterest.

I serve as president of a graduate school. At a recent reception, I was asked to recount a story regarding the initial formation of the school. It is, in fact, an interesting story (dating back to the Haight-Asbury/Flower children period in San Francisco) and reveals much about the abiding values of my school; yet, I mistakenly thought that very few people would be interested in this story. It would “bore” them. I was surprised and delighted to notice the level of genuine interest, as a small group of current and potential students gathered around to hear me recount the school’s founding story.

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