Is rationalizing the 8th deadly sin?

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According to the¬†DSM-IV, rationalization occurs “when the individual deals with emotional conflict or internal or external stressors by concealing the true motivations for his or her own thoughts, actions, or feelings through the elaboration of reassuring or self serving but incorrect explanations.”

We all do it. Everyday. It lives in us and comes out in all forms.

‘Long day at work today, I deserve a day off from ____________.’

‘She doesn’t have three kids, no wonder she’s able to_________.’

‘I’ve got a million things on my plate, that’s why I didn’t get _________ done.’

Are they true? Maybe. But are there times that we are just rationalizing because we are lazy, unmotivated, scared, or something else?

I have a book to write. It’s long overdue. Now, I can list a thousand reasons why I haven’t got it done and thousand more why it should wait. But I’ve suddenly become attune to my rationalizing. No, lots of people write books with toddlers. No, you do have something to say. No, it hasn’t already been written. Shut up Corey and carve out time to write.

It’s time to be honest with myself.

I’ve been lazy. Yes I have Talia, a growing social media business and a busy speaking schedule, but I could get up earlier. Seriously, I could. I wouldn’t be killing myself. And even if that were extreme, what about the days I watch football – could I skip a few of those? But I love football. Yeah, but look what the first book did for you. It catapulted your career. Are the sorry Dolphins worth missing out on the next level?

That’s honest. It hurts to even write it. But it’s true. So if I choose to watch those sorry Dolphins this week, it’s my choice. And I’ll know clearly what I’m sacrificing to do it. It feels good to be straight with myself.

I’ve also keyed in on it more with other people. I hear those dreaded words coming out of their mouth on a daily basis. I would but….If only….When I’m able to….

I have a suggestion. Listen really closely to the words that come out of your mouth and your inner thoughts. Are you being real with yourself? Or just rationalizing.

And why do I call it the 8th deadly sin? Well, I believe that word causes more people not to pursue and fulfill their dreams than any other. We rationalize our way right out of being better. Accomplishing our goals. Becoming successful.

And they come in all forms so you have to listen closely. You could even be rationalizing as you read this! Ha, caught you!

I don’t want this to come off as if I’m judging – that’s not my intent. That’s why I pointed the figure at myself first. I do it and I do it often.

But maybe by writing about it, I will help you start to catch yourself doing it. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll stop it and call bullshit on yourself. And at that point, change can happen. You might just redo that resume and get it out there again. Or start the business plan you’ve been putting off for years. Or get your butt in the gym because it’s critical that you stay health for you and your family.

So I’m going to work on it too. I’m going to DVR my game this weekend and make better use of that time (so don’t tell me the score! :) I’ll watch it ¬†later that night and I’m going to spend time with the family instead. It’s not the writing the book, but it’s a better alternative. I’ll make time for the book on Monday.

Or am I just rationalizing?

The battle continues…

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5 Responses to “Is rationalizing the 8th deadly sin?”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Great perspective, Corey. Thanks for having the courage to share!

  2. Dianna Graveman says:

    Thanks for this post, Corey. I rationalize all the time: “She’s got three books because she’s retired and has time to write,” etc. But with a book proposal due to a publisher next weekend, I have no more time for excuses. Thanks for the reminder to get on with it.

  3. Eric Brown says:

    Let’s Rock this NYT Best Seller pal, The Time is Now!

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