WHY DO WE ALWAYS MAKE EXCUSES
We usually say that we are different from other animals because we are rational, but actually the research of psychologists proves that humans are not rational, but rationalized, which means we tend to make excuses for our behavior. And sometimes, to make an excuse is more important than the truth.
There’s an experiment about it. In 1959, a group of psychologists found some volunteers, and made them first to tighten screws,then loose them,again and again for an hour. Afterwards, every volunteer should tell the next one that this experiment is fun. Then the volunteers were given 1 or 20 dollars respectively, and rated how much they liked this experiment.
Now,guess what? The volunteers who got only 1 dollar, reported that they liked this experiment more than those who got 20 dollars. Seems strange.
Actually, the volunteers considered the experiment boring, but must tell others it was interesting. So the volunteer felt uncomfortable——”Am I a liar?”——and he would try to reduce it by making excuses, of why they told others it was interesting. For those who got 20 dollars, the reason is just about money. But for those who got only 1 dollar, the reason could only be it was really interesting.
In fact, this experiment proved the famous cognitive dissonance theory. It means when people have two cognition which contradicts each other, but act according to one cognition, they will feel uncomfortable and upset.
This cognitive dissonance theory could explain many things. For example, everyone knows that smokers have higher risk of lung cancer, but most smokers just don’t believe it! Smoking is harmful to health but they still smoke, then cognition dissonance occurs. The smokers will say”I’m an exception of lung cancer.” or something like that.
So, when our behavior differs from our thoughts, we usually change one. But there’s another choice—— just to admit our mistakes,our shortcomings.
Last time ,I forgot about the speech totally. And when Stuart asked”Who is going to do the
speech?”,I just reminded of it.It was terrible, and I couldn’t forgive myself.So I told myself,”I’m too busy these days.” But the truth is, I simply cannot arrange everything well,and
couldn’t improvise a speech either. After I admitted it, I know I can deliver my speech now.