Posts Tagged ‘rationalization

03
Apr
13

Does This Excuse Make My But Look Big?

motivationalexcusesstopsignSpring is a time for rebirth and regeneration. Whether it’s cutting back the dead limbs in your garden or cleaning out your closets, it’s all about out eliminating the non-productive to make way for the fruitful and useful.

It is just as important to weed your mind as it is your physical surroundings, and now is a great time to prune the word “but” from your vocabulary.  Excuses are the mental weeds that strangle any chance at new growth regardless of how many new seeds you plant.

Excuses thrive in two kinds of soil. The first are things we will not do despite the direct negative impact of inaction, such as developing a healthier lifestyle. These “buts” are insidious because you just don’t care enough about yourself to take action. The second grows from things we will not stop. This could be allowing negative people to stay in our lives and allowing ourselves to be compromised.  This but is fertilized by the guilt-and-fear excuse and thrives in an enabling personality.

I like big buts, I cannot lie; but not anymore. I am a recovered excusaholic, and like any recovered addict, when people come to me and state the same issue or problem over and over I want to scold them like a child only because I know the years of waste and stress it cost me.

Excuses are like interest payments. They take away from your principal and you get absolutely nothing in return, not even a write-off.  Oftentimes the only way to get off your but is when the results are so positive or so painful that you must take action. If you keep repeating the same excuses rather than taking action you aren’t at this point yet. It’s that simple.

I recently read a statement about the endless circle of repeating excuses as “all retch and no vomit.” How grossly appropriate! When we allow ourselves to be subjected to thankless, negative, or even unethical individuals we become poisoned by them.  It’s not their fault, it’s ours. When we lack the discipline of self esteem to break a negative habit and cling to our big buts we are poisoning ourselves. Excuses are rationalizations and when we rationalize all we are doing is reinforcing our rational lies.

Better to be silent than to regurgitate the same old retch over and over again. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This includes making excuses. For things to change first you must change. And a big but doesn’t look good on anybody.

18
Jan
13

Manipulation with an expectation of vindication

humorkharma

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.” Stephen R. Covey

This week international sports-cycling legend Lance Armstrong publicly admitted that he had doped during all seven of his Tour de France victories. This was after years of denial, lying during testimonies, and attacks on those who spoke the truth.

While falls from grace sometimes never happen publicly, with some taking their secrets to the grave, there is no hiding when you do bad things. It all comes out. Karma may not hit you on the head in this lifetime, but it certainly will in the next.

Armstrong’s career was built on ill-gotten gains. It’s no different than conning an old lady out of her savings even if you use that money to feed the poor. You did “good” at the expense of doing “bad” and that is inexcusable. In legalese, they call it the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine: any evidence gained illegally is tainted whether it is accurate or not.

Defenders point to the good he did to help children through his philanthropy and the Livestrong Foundation. Their rationalization is rooted in Machiavellianism where the end justifies the means. Even the Good Book says “Treasures gained dishonestly profit no one, but righteousness rescues from death.”(Proverbs 10:2)

Like any publisher, I look for authors whose work embodies the philosophy and ethics of our readership. I take their written word as proof of their beliefs since most of the time I do not meet them in person. One particular author wrote an extraordinary book of high standards exhorting the reader to live their life in a truthful manner. As soon as the book came out, I discovered the author was not who they represented themselves to be. I immediately pulled the book from our website and other promotional channels. You see, even if it sold 100 Million copies and made me rich beyond my wildest dreams, I don’t want to profit from the fruit of the poisonous inkwell.

No one should be punished for the rest of their lives for white collar crime but if they think an apology and restitution erases the consequences of their actions they are idiots. Trust is like a sheet of paper. Once you wrinkle it up, even though you smooth it out there will always be creases and it will never be seamless again. Think Before you Act, should be changed to Think of the Consequences Before You Act. We can justify anything to ourselves due to our inherently selfish, short-sighted natures. But if we take the next step and consider how this will affect everyone else on the planet, it just might save us from crumpling up everything good we’ve written on the pages of our lives.

13
Dec
12

Deconstructing the Bull

PicassoBullI recently attended a board meeting where the members discussed whether or not the organization should purchase a building. The overwhelming majority of the room was in favor of the acquisition based on the simple fact that “all the pieces had fallen into place” so how could this not be the desired course of action?

Now I’ll admit that I’m more analytical than your average bear, but I also trust my heart and instinct as well. However, the line of reasoning the group used had some glaring errors. There is a spirit of truth; there is also a spirit of error. There is a spirit of light and a spirit of dark. Just because something looks good and attractive doesn’t mean you should go there. The simple fact that a building is available at a good price does not mean that a purchase is automatically a wise decision. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It seems the ability to think with a discerning mind is almost a lost gift among leaders these days, which may explain why people in positions of power make such awful decisions. They are not looking past the present moment. They want “it” bad and that’s how they get it. We all face things that seem like possible paths or options in our lives, be it in our personal, professional, financial, or spiritual lives.

In 1945 – 1946 Pablo Picasso produced a powerful series of eleven drawings collectively titled Bull. When viewed in sequence, each drawing is a simplification of the previous one, moving from the realistic to the abstract. You can see how he worked away at the complex image bit by bit reducing it to a single fluid line that still posses all the power of the bull itself. His single line drawings are simple yet powerful as they create so much using a single unbroken line.

Picasso got down to the essence of the animal, the true reality of what defined it. We should all be so able to pare down the noise in our daily lives and decisions. My father always told me, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” I used to laugh at this when I was younger but as the years went by, I discovered that this was absolutely critical to my life. Debby Boone has a line in a song, “It can’t be wrong, when it feels so right.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Do you run from person to person seeking fulfillment? Do you allow other opportunities at work to derail you from the real work at hand because it just seems too good to be true? There are many great deceivers out there that convey a counterfeit message. They have their mission; the true test of leadership is determining if it is compatible with yours. Saying no out of fear is cowardice; saying no out of discernment is truly brilliant leadership. Can you deconstruct the bull?




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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