Why Do People Do the Wrong Thing?

25 Mar

Again, from the Success Accelerator, Anna Johnson…

“Why Do People Do The Wrong Thing?”

Why do people voluntarily do the wrong thing – whether it’s breaking the law, contravening a policy or rule, or doing something immoral?

Generally, it’s because they are motivated by one or more of the following beliefs:

1. They don’t think it’s wrong (or at least they don’t think it’s wrong for THEM to do).

2. They think they can get away with it.

3. It benefits them.

Why is this important to know? Because if we are ever going to stop people from doing the wrong thing we need to address their motivations.

These beliefs underlie the commission of crimes in our society – whether it’s individuals committing heinous crimes or corporations breaching industry regulations.

Closer to home, they also drive our friends, neighbors and kids to sometimes do the wrong thing.

For example, if you discover your child doing the wrong thing, you can punish them all you want. You can even physically prevent them from doing the wrong thing in the future.

But your best chance of guaranteeing that they won’t do it again is to address all three beliefs: show them why it IS wrong, that they CANNOT get away with it, and that ultimately it does NOT benefit them.

I have kids and I find this article very helpful.  I think if the kids learn about this concept, then it will help them think twice or thrice about doing anything wrong.  It makes them ask good questions and I believe that’ll help them do well in life as they grow up.  I hope you find this helpful as I did.


Posted by on March 25, 2008 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Why Do People Do the Wrong Thing?

  1. miss3h

    April 3, 2008 at 3:13 am

    This is so true, Crystal. If a child or other person thinks they can get away with doing somthing that is beneficial to them, then by this same selfish thinking, why not continue to do it?

    But if you do show them that it is indeed wrong, they will get caught, and the end result is unpleasing…perhaps the culprit will stop his/her behavior.

    Such a simple concept, but so true!

  2. crystalreflections

    April 11, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Hi miss3h!

    It is so true… It’s a little harder to implement than it seems. I think my kids are on the young side to really get this concept but I am sure it’s just a matter of time when they’ll finally get it… and then they will never forget it.


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