“Excuses are the tools with which persons with no purpose in view build for themselves great monuments of nothing.” ~ Steven Grayhm
Name one person, including yourself, who hasn’t made an excuse. You’re still thinking aren’t you? Chances are we know few, if any, who haven’t offered an excuse at some time. Excuses can be counter-productive, damaging, and leave people wondering about your dependability or integrity. Excuses may seem like rational reasons for us not to do something, but if we’re not careful we can allow them to keep us from reaching our goals. Too often we accept our excuses as reasons why we cannot accomplish what we set out to do, and instead of finding alternatives we give up. You’ve been there, right? But if we can be honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our choices, we will begin to notice that we no longer give excuses.
When we keep our minds focused on our goals, we find that excuses fade away in the light of our priorities, and issues become challenges that can help us become wiser and stronger.
Sometimes we may give others excuses rather than be fully honest. We may think it is too kind to tell someone we are willing to so something with them, but then keep putting them off. This diverts our energy into keeping the truth at a distance while continuing a falsehood. But when we can take responsibility for our feelings and express them honestly, yet gently, the other person is free to find someone who is better suited to accompany them while we are free to pursue things we like. When we do this, our efforts can be invested in building better lives and relationships.
There’s another way in which excuses rob us and that is in the power of our thoughts and words. If we find ourselves in a situation, for example, where we are being asked for a financial contribution but we use the excuse that we can’t afford it (see this post about money), we create and attract lack and limitation into our lives. The same goes for seemingly simple things like pretending not to feel well or make any other false statements. We may think that excuses make things easier, but they complicate matters. When we can commit to our priorities, take responsibility for our choices, and communicate them honestly to others, there will be no need to make excuses and you’ll be free to focus on things that really matter.
If you tend toward excuses: 1) Face the fact that you’re making or using them; 2) See them as antidotes for inaction and; 3) Shift your priorities and act in integrity. Here are three common excuses and ways in which you can view them differently.
I’m not inspired.
Inspiration comes from action, not the other way around. John Maxwell says, “The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or whatever. Do it without motivation. And then, guess what? After you start doing the thing, that’s when the motivation comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.”
- The production is taking too long.
Nobody ever said creative execution was sexy. In fact, it’s grueling. Author Junot Diaz battled writers block for five years before finishing his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Inventor James Dyson built over 5,000 prototypes before he found the right design for his vacuum. And the list goes on. We must find joy in the process of execution, not just the end product.
- I’ve got to pay the bills.
Going with the status quo, we tend to give high priority to things like wealth and stability. And once we have them, it’s extremely difficult to imagine life without them. But should these things come at the expense of pursuing big, bold ideas? Paying the bills won’t necessarily earn you a legacy. 🙂