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7 Foolproof Excuses For Questioning Authority

It’s quite common for us to feel like questioning authority when we think we know better.  Unfortunately, doing so could give some backlash too, as structure and order are two things that keep society pulling together, and we all need to play our part in that.  The varying levels or layers of structure, some of which would be best described as authority, are what allow us to function without every single person knowing everything about everything.  That’s why we are often in the position to “take someone’s word for it” and just assume they are correct.  However, when we know they aren’t then we need to speak up – no need for having some sort of excuses for questioning authority – just do it.

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      Want excuses for questioning authority?  Here’s some background info first:

      Authority can mean different things – for example – we could be talking about the obvious elements like police or government, but we could just as easily use the word to describe a knowledgeable person – like say a scientist who is the authority on nutrition, or the Excuse Index – the authority on excuses.
      An underlying premise of the word “authority” could then be, an entity that has power over us, be that through knowledge or force or situation.  As you can probably tell, we deal with authority all the time, even if we often don’t view it that way.  Usually, that’s all good and well, because like we alluded to earlier, society needs a “chain of command” as it were, to allow for order to ensue and everyone to co-exist together.

      However, there can come a time when it no longer makes sense to play by the rules, or simply accept an established thought/routine/dogma etc.  A time when you might know better and the need to question an authority makes itself obvious.  That’s when we need to follow our instincts and stand up for what we think, but we might also end up needing a clever excuse for questioning authority if our ambitions backfire.

      That’s why we’ve created this list of possible excuses for questioning authority that you can use to extricate yourself from a risky situation if you find yourself in one.

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      Our list of excuses for questioning authority

      It’s natural and beneficial to question authority but that doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself wanting to backtrack at times.  If that’s the case, then having a handful of good excuses to question authority in your backpocket can make your life a lot easier.  Without further ado, here’s our list:

      1. I was just trying to be helpful

      woman in work meeting raising her hand as she prepares an excuse to question authority

      You thought you saw a problem or a flaw in the way things were being done.  This happens all the time, especially in work situations, and as a team member who wants the enterprise to succeed, it’s your duty to try and advance the protocol when you think you can.  Sorry for overstepping, but you thought everyone would be better off for it.

      2. I can do the job better

      woman with bun hairstyle has her arms qide questioning why she was asked to do the work she was asked to do

      There will be situations where someone in a place of authority will have skills that are inferior to your own (or someone else’s).  That means they likely aren’t the best option for the task and the sooner this gets pointed out, the better.  That’s why you questioned authority and proved your point about how things were being done incorrectly.  If nothing changes then refer to our list of excuses for quitting a job you just started.

      3. The authority didn’t know squat

      man waiting for an interview knowing he'll get the job because he knows more than everyone else

      Have you ever spoken to a supposed expert and realized that you know more than they do?  Seems to happen a lot these days, with so many fake experts all over the place on Instagram, YouTube, heck, even the news.  Another time you might get this impression is when phoning a customer support line and finding out that all the “product expert” you’re speaking with does is Google answers to the questions you’re asking.  Ridiculous right?  That’s why, if something doesn’t sound correct, you should question it – no need for an excuse to question authority at this time.

      4. I was trying to open a discussion

      woman talking to her colleague making an excuse to question authority by opening a discussion with her boss

      It can be dangerous to blindly follow a certain way of thinking or of doing things.  Doing so could lead to stagnation and inefficiency, which is why discussion is always a good thing.  Maybe it won’t achieve any gains, but it doesn’t hurt to try.  As long as the discussion is constructive, there can only be benefit.  Either you change the system, or you prove it works and reinforce it.  That’s why when you thought something should be spoken about, you addressed the issue and by doing so questioned authority.

      5. I was looking for clarification

      man in an office on the phone getting clarification on a pertinent issue

      Questioning brings security.  This means that if you don’t understand the why or the how of something, then it’s best you ask questions until you’ve wrapped your head around it.  This could happen when you’re trying to learn something, but also if you’re being detained by an authority and you don’t understand why.  Wanting to know why is one of the most logical reasons to question authority.

      6. I asked so that you could teach

      man teaching an insubordinate child who wants to learn and doesn't have an excuse to question authority

      The same way you wanted to learn, someone else might want to teach.  If the person whose authority you questioned is truly an expert, then they should have no problem flexing some of that intellectual muscle and teaching you a thing or two.

      7. What you’re saying is total bulls#$%

      group of journalists who don't need excuses for questioning authority talking to a politician

      If you feel like you’re being fed a line by someone in a place of authority, then you should, scratch that, you must stand up for what you believe is right.  It could be in response to something you see or hear on the news, something that comes out of your local politician’s mouth, or the advice and guidance of a professional who is supposed to have your best interests at heart.  If you feel the wool is being pulled over your eyes, then you need to stand up for your thought and your rights.  Calling someone out doesn’t necessarily need an excuse to question authority, just know that you‘ll need to back up your assertion.

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      Why do we feel the need to make excuses to question authority?

      It’s easier to sail on a calm ocean, and inevitably, questioning authority will end up rocking the boat.  Even though this is often a good thing, that doesn’t mean it’s comfortable.  Questioning authority can be a nerve-wracking experience and in many circumstances, we might end up backing down.  That’s when we’ll want the ability to save face and will find ourselves reaching for excuses as to why we questioned authority.  Maybe we want to keep our job, not catch the ire of our professors, be heard in parliament, or just not get additional charges added if we’re standing up to the police.

      It’s because the act of standing up to someone, especially someone in a position of power, is uncomfortable and could backfire, that we feel the need to make excuses for questioning authority.

      woman looking serious because her authority is about to be questioned

      Do we actually need to make excuses for questioning authority?

      As mentioned, standing up for what you think is right is easier said than done, and having a way out makes us feel more comfortable.  That said, we should not be afraid to say what we feel, and always question an authority figure if we think they’re wrong.  Everyone is fallible, and as such they might not be correct all the time.  This goes for police, politicians, professors, scientific experts, your parents – the list goes on.  What’s important is that when we do speak up, we do so with the aim of getting to a discussion that can shed some light on the issue and possibly fix something that’s broken.  That’s why we must never feel bad and hold back if we have something relevant to say.

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