Management Training: Four Feeble Excuses
In the past, you've heard it said that; Knowledge is power. But that isn't necessarily so, knowledge is only potential-power.
People don't always do what they know, so knowledge is NOT, necessarily, power.
- Some people speed on the motorway even though they know they should not.
- Some people don't do their preparation, even though they know they should.
Question: How can it be that people don't do the things they know they should, and they sometimes do the things that they should not.
Answer: They Rationalise.
Rationalising is the mental habit of coming up with fake reasons, (commonly known as "making feeble excuses"), for not doing the right thing.
People can rationalise practically any action, and thus, make anything, OKAY.
They rationalise that it is okay to park on double yellow lines, because, "I'll only be two minutes". And they can rationalise genocide of a minority population, since, "It is for the Greater Good of the Nation".
Here are the four rationalisations (feeble excuses), that people use to rationalise doing the wrong thing.
We are listing these, not so that you use them - but so that you don't.
Rationalisation 1. Everyone else does it.
People often justify a naughty action by the rationalisation that lots of other people do it. Psychologists call this, social validation.
People speed on the motorway, partly because other people speed on the motorway.
People drop litter partly, because other people drop litter.
Be careful that you don't use the actions of other naughty people to justify (rationalise) your own naughtiness.
Rationalisation 2. Using emotions as a reason.
A rational person does things for a reason. A non-rational person does things for an emotion.
They substitute an emotion for a reason. The emotion becomes a rationalisation. When an emotion is used to explain an action, let your alarm bells ring.
An emotion is a poor excuse for an action.
"I hit him because I was angry".
Even worse, is to blame an action on the emotion and then blame the emotion on someone else.
"I hit him because HE made me angry".
This is double rationalisation. Be careful when you hear this type of language.
Rationalisation 3. Nobody told me.
This is a favourite of teenagers.
"Why did you not empty the bin, that is overflowing onto the kitchen floor?" "Nobody told me to".
"Why did you not empty the washing machine?" "Nobody told me to".
Some teenagers grow up into adults, but they don't grow out of the habit of having NO Personal initiative. They don't do the tasks that obviously need to be done, and when challenged for their omission, they say, "Nobody told me to."
This is a common rationalisation for laziness. Be cautious of the person who uses the phrase, "Nobody told me to."
Rationalisation 4. My little bit won't make much difference.
This is one of the most common rationalisations for doing the wrong thing. "It doesn't matter because my little error won't make much difference, so it is okay."
"My bit of litter won't make much difference, so I'll drop my litter".
"One piece of chocolate won't make me fat, so I'll eat the bar of chocolate".
"One jog around the block won't make me fit, so I won't jog around the block".
The rationalisation amounts to this: "My one little indiscretion won't make any difference, so I will indulge my indiscretion".
This rationalisation fails to take into account the fact that once you do something, you are much more likely to do it again, since you set up a precedent in the mind, which acts as a green light for similar actions in the future.
So be cautious of the person who says, "Go on. A small piece won't make much difference. Go on, try just one."
This person is dangerous.
Especially if it is you.
A wise person acts on reasons.
A fool acts on rationalisations.
It is important that you have good work habits because those who DO, make more progress in less time. Discover exactly how good YOUR work habits are with our quiz: How good are your work habits?