The Difference Between Reason and Excuse

“I fucking hate people who don’t know the difference between reason and excuse,” says redditor editor raspberrykoolaid , referring to those disgusting people who cannot empathize with a single issue they’ve never faced. … and think that everyone else is just apologizing. You don’t want to be one of these people. But you also don’t want to be greeted with disappointment. Your whole life will be better if you can tell the reason from the excuse.

By “justification,” I mean a bad excuse, an excuse offered to avoid blame or effort. And by “reason” I mean an explanation that adequately responds to the objections of the other side. Both are used to justify behavior, but only the latter actually does so.

We all sometimes offer excuses to save face or to try to get out of trouble, or because we really don’t want to do the job of solving a problem. But we also offer reasons because we are not omnipotent, and sometimes others ask more of us than we can provide.

If you look at the reasons and think they are excuses, you end up blaming people too much and expecting too much of them. For example, you can:

  • Be a member of the maintenance staff
  • Think that oppression doesn’t exist because you haven’t experienced it or because you have found a personal solution.
  • Beat yourself for even the slightest mistake, because you always compare yourself to perfection.
  • Disrupt the industry with a well-funded startup, use your short-term cash flow to threaten companies that prioritize long-term sustainability, and watch it all crash when you find out why the old way was right.
  • Give scary advice

If you look at the excuses and think they are reasons, you can:

  • To be constantly late
  • Let people treat you like shit
  • Spend years in an unsatisfactory relationship with a partner who never makes you feel special because he is too busy with everything in his life except you, while all your friends gossip about it behind your back.
  • Be deceived
  • Fired

There is no easy way to tell excuse from reason. They are not clearly defined, and what is an excuse in one situation is a valid reason in another. But whenever you are trying to distinguish between reason and preposition, do this:

  • Do your research: If you don’t understand the first reason for receiving a message, dig deeper. Ask why five times.
  • Assume the good faith of the other side until it is necessary. This gives you the opportunity to change your mind, and it gives them the opportunity to change theirs.
  • Think about why someone offered you an excuse. Sometimes you will see their real purpose – for example, to try to save face – and you can help them with that by getting what you need from them.
  • Look for opposing motives that cause the parties to disagree about the validity of a particular requirement. Look for common motivations that replace opposing motivations, and see if you can rethink the situation in terms of those motivations.
  • Review your assumptions regularly. Check with people whose experiences differ from yours to see if your assumptions are correct . Be prepared to learn, not defend your old position.

This process works both ways because you apply it to both your side and the other side’s side. Tell your boss that your boss doesn’t listen to your good reasons for missing the deadline. Ask “why” about your reasons, and you may find that you can overcome them by removing the root of the problem. But also think about the reasons why your boss may not understand your reasons – whether he is not considering your workload or simply feels the need to assert authority. You may need to tell them about your other work, or find a way to make them feel responsible, but give you more time. This entire process works the same if you are the boss and think your employee is lazy.

If you constantly see the same person as demanding or lazy, or you see a large group of people as demanding or lazy, then you need to use these strategies. Sometimes it turns out that you are right – capitalism works for overly demanding bosses who extract the value of your surplus labor ! And sometimes you’re wrong – for example, someone thinks that homeless people just need to “get a job.”

You cannot conclusively prove the difference between reason and excuse. (If someone could do that, there wouldn’t be things like competition or wasted opportunities.) But if you practice learning the differences, you’ll get along better with people, get what you want more often, and even install better ones. expectations. for yourself. And you won’t inspire whole Reddit threads to be a moron.


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