…are rationalization and denial.
These two mind viruses are dangerous because they’re insidious. They cause you to slip into the abyss of mediocrity without you having knowing.
How do they work? They feed on excuses to build powerful self-deception. According to Michael Schreiner:
“The difference is that denial flat out says there’s not a problem while rationalization is more clever, it justifies thoughts and behaviors on some other grounds in the attempt to convince Self and others that these thoughts and behaviors aren’t maladaptive, that they’re actually adaptive.”
Rationalization and denial are the foundations of an unfulfilling life. And when I’m aware of my own rationalizations and denials, I think of this next quote or saying. I’m not quite sure where this saying originated from, as it’s been bounced around many times over the years, but I like this version:
“Excuses are the tools of the weak and incompetent. They build bridges to nowhere and tunnels to nothingness… Those who excel in them seldom do in anything else, therefore, there are no excuses.”—Frank Ocean
When I first heard a rendition of this quote I was 13 years old. I just started to realize what procrastination and excuses truly meant. And I was a perpetrator of these success destroying habits. Needless to say, it struck a chord.
Rationalization and denial lul you into a false sense of security and by the time you look up, 5 years have gone by, 10 years have gone by—20, 30 and you’ve gone nowhere.
Many of us are in denial. We refuse to acknowledge our incongruity—that is, what we want to achieve and what we have achieved so far or what we’re doing to achieve our goals.
For example, you might want to start a clothing line. But despite all of the ideas you have bouncing around in your skull, you’ve still have yet to draw up designs or check or fabrics.
Some of us are also super good at behaving as if settling(rationalization) for less than what we want is actually the right thing to do.
You convince yourself that binge watching your favor show isn’t taking valuable time away from working on your craft.
Over the years we end up lost—thousands of miles off path and we don’t even know it.
This is why many of the self-help gurus(the good ones) rub you the wrong way. They hold up a mirror for you to see, not yourself as you currently are, but the outstanding, successful version of yourself that you could be.