Human beings aren't rational animals; we're rationalizing animals who want to appear reasonable to ourselves.
Self-justification, therefore, is not only about protecting high self-esteem; it's also about protecting low self-esteem if that is how a person sees himself.
We need to challenge our own thinking.
It is possible to achieve mastery of a problem or a skill without hurting another person or even without attempting to conquer.
The American mind in particular has been trained to equate success with victory, to equate doing well with beating someone.
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