We often don’t know the reasons why we do what we do, feel what we feel, or make the choices we make, but apparently we are very good at creating reasons that seem quite logical and that reflect favorably on us. For example, we may believe that cheating and lying are wrong. Yet, according to Dan Ariely (2012) most of us lie. He’s not talking about the big lies that cause major damage to others. He says we lie only to the extent we can still see ourselves as good people. We tell ourselves stories to justify our actions, like everyone cheats on their taxes or it’s only an extra dollar in change the clerk gave me and the company owes me more than that for all the times I’ve overpaid.
If we’re annoyed with the person we are interacting with, we are more likely to cheat or steal, believing we are justified. We may tell ourselves that we are simply restoring karma and crusading for justice.