Reasons Are Refutable - Grasshopper
Are you in the habit of giving reasons for your behavior? The un-refuted truth is that most of your reasons have an infinite amount of counterarguments which, when played out, lead to a life of arguing.
Seems we got the idea somewhere along the way to “explain ourselves.” Reasons are the mainstay of the explainer.
There is no bigger elicitor of reasons than a “Why” question. If you want to hear a bevy of reasons, just ask why. There will be no lack of answers.
What if you began answering your own and others’ “Why” questions with just a statement of what you did and not why you did it?
Them: “Why did you take bridge A instead of bridge B?”
You: “I took bridge A because I took bridge A.”
It will be a shorter conversation and lead to less arguments. There is no arguing with the fact of what you did; it’s the reasons that promote and prolong the argument.
Them: “Why did you canoodle with the pool boy?”
You: “I canoodled because I canoodled.”
Your behavior still has consequences but you can reduce the amount of argument about it by not offering reasons.
We think that reasons will satisfy our discomfort with someone’s behavior, but that is rarely the case. One reason leads to another reason until the argument eventually stops, not because we ran out of reasons but because we got tired of arguing.
Here’s an example of a reason working:
Them: “Why were you late?”
You: “The bridge was out.”
Notice the factual content in that answer. It prevents the reasoning from taking on a life of its own.
People will continue to demand reasons and we will continue to give them and vice-versa. My only suggestion is to notice that the argument that ensues continually goes nowhere.
We too often are under the misperception that a reason will excuse our behavior. It rarely does. If you state what you did and not why you did it, you can get to the crossroads of where to go next much quicker.
It takes courage not to give reasons – the courage to get to the consequences quicker.
All behavior has consequences. It’s the attempt to reason away the behavior that leads us to a “death by a thousand cuts” by arguing to the death.
All the best,
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