Defending the indefensible

When a person is confronted with truth, facts, and reality how they react tells much about them. It talks about their mindset, intelligence, discipline, emotions, thoughts, and habits which ultimately tells a lot about their character.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant

How do people react when someone points out something that is patently true, factual, or even deemed a worthy or convincing argument? These are good responses worth developing as a habit:

  1. Acknowledge the observations and findings.
  2. Show understanding and empathy
  3. Admit your ignorance and what you didn’t know
  4. Be open and willing to learn or investigate more
  5. Appreciate and thank the person for their correction
  6. Make them feel acknowledged, vindicated, and respected

These are poor responses:

  1. Deny, double down, and stay with your outwitted, false storyline (confirmation biases, optimism biases, belief bias, false consensus, backfire effect, ostrich-effect, herd mentality)
  2. Deflect, use distractions, get personal, ridicule, mock, back more confident in the little we know (red herring, ad hominem, Dunning-Kruger effect)
  3. Ignore the truth and facts; enjoy the benefits of sticking to what you are (don’t compromise your status, position, job, earnings, personal status quo, disapproval of your superiors, peers, or juniors)

When you suspect something is wrong, or when you know that the bullshit you tell yourself doesn’t add up, what do you do? How do you defend the indefensible? The easiest way to maintain “cognitive dissonance” is to develop a coping strategy to deal with your conscience – some sort of equilibrium to subordinate the voice of any good angel on your right shoulder.

There is benefit in self-deception, lies, stories, sticking to practices, policies, methods, outdated technologies, and processes that are simply problematic, untrue, wrong, or unfair.

There is also benefit in accepting truth, facts, evidence, and reality. This will be courage, integrity, commitment, bravery, and self-respect, But this may be a lonely road – a road less traveled, swimming upstream, making yourself conspicuous, open to jeers from the masses.

Anil Salick

Anil Salick

Strategist, Facilitator, Coach, Writer. Shares about inspiration, leadership, critical thinking, fun, sports and current events.