- Thoughts for inspired living

January 9, 2009

Mitigation & Justification

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:24 am

I watch enough Law & Order to know the names of the crimes people are charged with: 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, manslaughter, depraved indifference, etc.

Conviction on a lesser count means less prison time. The defense, if they have a weak case, will plea bargain for their client to be sentenced for a lesser crime and spare the legal system the expense and time a trial would take. Many cases are settled out of court this way.

The thing that we lose sight of in the midst of all the wrangling and machinations is that someone died. No label will change that fact.

Mitigation and Justification are the two smoke bombs we set off when we don’t want to admit to reality. Our purpose is to cloud others’ vision, so that we can escape facing the reality they represent.

How much time do you spend in your head justifying what you do?

How many scenarios do you run through in your mind that present your unproductive actions as “not so bad?”

Reminds me of a story . . . about 30 years ago I applied for a radio job in Philadelphia – the city where I grew up. I was working in Syracuse at the time and was looking to make a move to a bigger market. I was invited down for an interview and it went very well. There was a connection. About a week later, I got a call from the Philadelphia program director. He said, “I’ve got good news and bad news.” The good news (for him) was that he was able to hire Joe Niagra, a well known Philly personality. The bad news (for me) was I didn’t get the job.

I remember what I said to him when I got the disappointing news. It was a piece of rare, unvarnished honesty that just slipped out. I said, “If I were in your position, and had the choice between me and Joe Niagra, I would have picked Joe too.” The interesting thing about the story is that 3 years later this fellow moved to Providence and remembered me and hired me there.

When we sugarcoat the truth or water it down, everyone suffers.

Just listen to the conversations around you – in the supermarket, airport, bus stop, drug store, hair salon, or water cooler. If you pay attention, you will be treated to a multitude of mitigation and justification. More importantly, notice it in your own head.

You will always be two steps from the truth when you mitigate or justify. The truth is: no one believes you – not even you – when you justify or mitigate your actions.

The preservation of our made up self image is at stake. We deny and lie to keep a puppet alive. It’s a lot of work with a small payday.

Is there a justification you’ve been keeping on life support for a lot of years? Have you mitigated something so much that it no longer even resembles the reality it was and still is?

It may be time to look in the mirror and find the truth. As I’ve said before, mirrors have no agenda. They don’t justify or mitigate. They only reflect back reality.

The comfort and ease that accompanies the truth will mitigate the angst you keep alive by justifying your actions.

All the best,


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