As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that everyone around me has continually gotten better at the same skill: justification.
I can justify just about anything…
- hitting snooze (I was up later last night getting some work done)
- eating another slice of pizza (well I’ll just run a little more today)
- pushing out a product release with a known bug (it’ll only be out there for a few days, we’ll go back and fix it)
- not answering the phone when my mom calls (I’ll call her later, she wouldn’t want to interrupt me)
- buying another drink (I don’t have to work tomorrow, and it’s only midnight)
It goes on and on. No matter the decision, I can justify any response I come to out of pure rational argument.
I’m not alone. Psychologist Dan Ariely has been studying this for years and has several TED talks on this topic alone.
I don’t say this to get into ethics, morals, or the blurred lines between right and wrong…I bring it up because you are most frequently going to justify decisions to one person: yourself.
The good news is, you have all the information at your disposal. If someone else is trying to convince you a decision they’ve made is justified, you may not have all the facts or details to disagree.
When your only audience is yourself, you can see through your own bullshit. And if you know better, you can change directions.