“I’m not cheating, everyone else does it too.”

Today I would like to talk about Lance Armstrong and the illegal performance enhancing drugs that he took. No, I’m not going to re-tell the story. I’m sure you’ve all heard it many a time. Today I would like to pick out an aspect of the story. The mental aspect, the aspect of what Lance thought he was doing, and what he actually was doing.

A culture of doping has developed in cycling and cyclists that dope no longer think they’re cheating. This is the big problem and a pitfall we can all fall into. The cyclists say that everyone else is doping too and say that if they didn’t dope they would be handicapping themselves, not advantaging themselves over the rest. This is a mental flaw in many professional cyclists’ minds. The cyclists that dope have managed to convince themselves mentally that want they are doing isn’t wrong. Lance Armstrong didn’t admit to doping because he knew he would land in a lot of trouble, but he had no problem in doping, because he didn’t think it was the wrong thing to do. In fact Lance Armstrong thought that doping was the right thing to do. He’d somehow managed to convince himself that something immoral like doping was the moral action to take. He thought that everyone else was doping so it was okay for him to do so to. He has know realised otherwise, but it’s a bit too late. Oh oh.

I would like to warn us all that this wrong mental attitude isn’t confined to cycling. We can all adopt this wrong mental attitude and end up taking the wrong path. It really isn’t hard. There are times where you may just take the wrong path but not know about it, but these are not the situations I’m talking about. I am warming you to the situation where you know the right and wrong path but convince yourself to take the wrong path and alter your perception by making the wrong path look good. It’s a lot easier said than done, but you should always stick to your morals and gut instinct to ensure you don’t fall into the trap Lance Armstrong and many others did. Never use the excuse, “Everyone else does it so I did to.” Always think on your own feet, after all you’re the only one responsible for your actions.

I’ve been discussing how you can create a false mental perception and trick your brain into letting you do something wrong/immoral, but I’ve been relating the issue to professional cycling, which is unlikely to affect the majority of us. But I promise you this same story can be applied on any level. I’ll apply it to my school life as there are two aspects of school life where I’ve seen this deceitful attitude of making yourself think it’s okay to do something bad particularly prevalent.

Firstly I’ll start with people pushing into the lunch queues. I am the only year 10 who does not push in. I see it as wrong and cheating the system. I understand that most of you aren’t going to think this is a big thing, but think of it from my perspective. It can be rather annoying having people push in front of you when you’ve been waiting your turn as you should do. I admit it isn’t that important a situation but it is one example where people use the excuse everyone else does it so I should too.

The second example is a bit more important and is regarding cheating in exams and tests. I’m in year 10 and was arguing with a year 11 how it is wrong to cheat. He simply said, “Everyone else is cheating so by not cheating I’m disadvantaging myself, there’s nothing wrong with me cheating.” I don’t know if he heard himself but he was an absolute disgrace.

There are two problems I have with the person that said cheating is okay. (I’ll not mention his name as if I do and my school finds out he’ll be bust.) Firstly cheating is wrong and that’s a full stop on the matter. No more dispute is to be had on that issue. Cheating is wrong and it is never acceptable. The second thing he said is everyone cheats. Okay I will accept it that there might be a fair amount of people that may be cheating, but that doesn’t make it everyone. If everyone keeps on saying everyone is cheating so I can too, then everyone will end up cheating. You should always do what is right. This is very vague, but you’ll know what I mean when the time is right.

I hope this post has been interesting and useful to read and wish to have enlightened some of you. If there are any situations where this mental attitude problem has arisen please leave a comment. I’ll be more than glad to hear about other people’s stories.

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