Justified vs. Helping

Of course your behavior is justifiable.

That’s not the question.

The question is, “is it helping?”

It’s easy to justify our mood or our actions based on how we’ve been treated by the outside world. Justification isn’t the goal, though. It’s effectiveness that matters.

We get to pick how we act, and it seems as though choosing what works, choosing what makes us happy, choosing what makes the world the place we want to make it–these choices are more useful than any justification we can dream up.

From Seth Godin, Sep. 1, 2016

Look around. You probably see a lot of this going on these days. Doesn’t matter the realm or context. I straddle different contexts in life and see this in all of them. Hell, just scroll through your social media feeds, watch the news. Everyone wants to be justified. Everyone believes their cause is Right and Just. Then everyone pushes their agenda based upon their justification. Many times the end result makes the situation worse, because it was more about being right than actually helping.

It’s a good point for self-reflection. Are you wanting to be right? Or are you wanting to help? Will your actions just make you feel justified? Or will it actually help make things better? You have to be brutally honest, and really step back and look at the facts. Because it’s easy to say “of course it’s helping! of course it will make things better!”. But often we’re just blinded by our cause, by our justifications. To ultimately be “right” we may have to first admit we were wrong, then we can fix ourselves and continue to strive to be right, and to actually help.

It’s perhaps also a good filter for things you see and potentially engage with. Is this person, is this group, is this company, is this cause just wanting to be right? Or is it actually helping?

And in doing so, remember your empathy.


I write this not to preach to you, but to give myself something to step back and think about. But I do share it in hopes it might give others something to think about as well.