You do it daily. Without meaning to, with all the best intentions, you reply to a loaded mistake with an excuse. Regardless of how truthful it is, whatever the true problem you’re trying to shadow, you use excuses on a daily basis. You don’t do it to consciously cover up your wrong. Instead, you do it to make light of a situation; to make an already trying incident less painful.
For that, know you aren’t alone. We all do it. Why? Because excuses roll off the tongue with ease.
When something goes wrong, we don’t attempt to remedy the problem and learn from it. Instead, we say, “If I had access to these notes, things would have been done properly.” We retort with excuses when things fall downhill. When bills aren’t paid on time. When we miss appointments. When we don’t spend enough time with loved ones.
We push excuses into the open in an attempt to make whatever happened better. But in reality, all we’re doing is more harm.
What good does it do? How useful is it to let your running habit falter and retort with the excuse – “Well, there’s simply not enough time in the day to get it in!” When you’re tasked with a specific duty and can’t complete it on time, what good does it do to follow up with an excuse? Sure, understanding why something couldn’t be completed is one thing. But blatantly ignoring the lessons to be learned from the mishap is another problem entirely.
Excuses shouldn’t be used to make yourself feel better; to make yourself look superior. And no, an excuse isn’t the same thing as a justification.
Here’s an example of a situation we can all relate to:
You get to work, realize you forgot to prep the handout for that morning’s meeting, and panic. Immediately, you begin to sweat – “How will I ever get this done on time?” “What will I tell the boss?” In response, you inadvertently come up with a reason – perhaps multiple reasons – for your lack of preparedness:
- Your son was sick with the flu.
- You lost track of time while prepping other projects the day and night prior.
- You woke up late because your alarms weren’t set correctly.
With these excuses tucked carefully under your belt, you walk into the meeting confident your boss will understand; knowing she will empathize. Why? Because she’s human, too. And, if you’re lucky, one of your excuses will stick. Your boss will understand. Her only response might be to learn to better prioritize next time, to which you would acknowledge and promise you will.
After that, it’s business as usual – right? Not exactly.
By succumbing to the toxic wasteland of excuses, you’re only preventing yourself from learning. You’re taking the backseat instead of letting the story’s moral shine through. This doesn’t make you a bad person. It actually makes you quite normal. But the best of us know the truth behind the excuse.
The successful folks in this world understand that often, an excuse is simply a cover-up for a serious lack of judgement. Things happen. Life happens. And yet, time goes on.
To be truly successful, you must learn that an excuse will only get you so far. You need to see the truth of the situation, even if you’re at fault. Here’s why.
– You’ll never get ahead.
Those who excel are capable; strong. They know the significance of the tasks they’re handed and are able to effectively prioritize.
Imagine if someone – let’s call him Bob – scheduled a morning workout. Every day, Bob plans to wake up for a 5:30 a.m. running session. For a few days, it works. And then, he goes to bed too late one evening. Determined, he sets his alarm for 5. But when the alarm sounds, he hits snooze, telling himself one day off can’t hurt.
Excusing himself from his set schedule, he floats back into dreamland. He does this for the next few days, always providing himself a laundry list of excuses:
- I have to get to work early today – another hour of sleep is more important than a workout.
- I’ll just get back into it next week!
- No one will care if I skip another day.
The list goes on.
The moral, here? By excusing yourself from a goal, you’re in turn lessening its significance. Sure, no one else will be directly influenced if you don’t hit the pavement at 5:30 each morning. But you will be.
You’ll never learn how to make that habit stick if you don’t persevere. You will never get over that phase of excuses if you continue using them each day. By encouraging the use of an excuse, you’ll never learn how to be better. You will never become the you that you truly deserve.
For the sake of your well-being, learn to say no to the excuses hanging around in your mind. Your personal growth depends on it.
– You will continue using them, even when you don’t need to.
Excuses are only as powerful as a person’s self-doubt. The more often you utilize them, the longer they’ll stay at your side. Like a flotation device thrown to a shipwreck survivor, they are there for you at a moment’s notice to keep you from drowning.
They’re there when you forget to do something; when you didn’t have the motivation to finish a project on time. And the more you use them, the more commonplace they will become.
Eventually, you’ll begin using them when you don’t need to.
Forgot to send a birthday card on time? Instead of owning up to your forgetfulness and sending that greeting a little late – better late than never – you attribute it to your busy schedule. Yet the reason you didn’t send that card on time is because you simply forgot.
Have those dirty dishes been piling up for the past few days? The reason you haven’t taken care of them isn’t necessarily because of a stressful workday. It’s because you got home and didn’t feel like doing it – multiple days in a row. Instead of realizing why you haven’t taken care of the chore, you attribute it to a long day at the office.
We all have stressful days, but eventually we hit a point where the excuses become too routine.
You don’t have to use excuses. We don’t always want to do the necessary things in life. It happens. Not all chores or events are fun and exciting. But you can’t not do it and rest your case on an excuse.
The longer you maintain those excuses, the more you’ll use them when you don’t need to. Once you understand that, you just may rid yourself of that flotation device you never really needed in the first place.
Don’t Let Life’s Excuses Halt Your Progress
You’re capable of so much. This world is full of opportunity; endless possibilities. And you will make mistakes – its natural. You’ll forget to finalize the edits before a project’s deadline. You’ll lose focus. You’ll sleep past your alarms and show up late.
The longer you allow an excuse opportunity to bloom, the more difficult it’ll be to gain the upper-hand. You’ll never learn how to wake up on time until you’re honest with yourself. Stop using excuses to help yourself function. Start today. Begin reaping the benefits tomorrow.