Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 08/10/2020
Cognitive dissonance is about holding conflicting beliefs, or beliefs that conflict with actual behavior. If you believe smoking causes premature deaths yet you choose to smoke anyway, that’s cognitive dissonance. Being alarmed at the way animals are slaughtered for food yet still relishing a good steak is another example. We all experience it at times.
We also tend to use confirmation bias to see our way through these contradictions. “My grandfather smoked all his life and lived to age 96,” or “Most people eat meat and those conditions are probably exaggerated.” However, the realization can be positive, in that you find yourself convinced that you need to get in better shape, yet you let your gym membership expire and you’re chomping down chocolate donuts as though they’re rare. Finally, you change your eating habits and renew your gym membership and feel better about your behaviors being consistent with your beliefs.
We live in an age that is a petri dish for cognitive dissonance. We have conflicting beliefs and ranting on social media on both sides of any belief. One answer, of course, is to be true to yourself. If you believe something, mold your behaviors to be consistent with that belief. Changing your beliefs to justify your behavior isn’t the answer in my book. We won’t be perfect, but we’ll feel better about ourselves.
Of course, I believe you’re entitled to your own opinion, so I don’t insist that you agree with me.
He had very few doubts, and when the facts contradicted his views on life, he shut his eyes in disapproval.