We can answer the question so many people ask when they look at ruthless dictators, greedy corporate CEOs, religious zealots who murder in the name of God, priests who molest children, or people who cheat their siblings out of a family inheritance: How in the world can they live with themselves? The answer is: exactly the way the rest of us do.

I am reading a decent book on Cognitive Dissonance called “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)” Having a good internal meter against hypocrisy and rationalization isn’t enough. You can’t fight self-justification in your own head, that’s the whole problem.

One of the advantages of having a site where you put stuff on the record is that it’s pretty easy to go back and check. Even so, if you guys find my contradicting myself or trying to make excuses for why “this one time is an exception” by all means call me out on it. If it’s a belief based on a bias–I’m not wedded to it.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.