The Bad Habit of Excuse Making
I have fallen victim to using the excuse of time before and wishing there were more of it, when really it is my inability to prioritize my time or decisively say no to things. Hit the year running by accepting ownership and not making excuses! -Brad
The Bad Habit of Excuse Making By: Steve Keating
Making excuses is habit forming and it’s as destructive a habit as almost any habit you could have. If you’re working for someone who accepts your excuses then you’re working for someone who is doing you a tremendous disservice. If you’re a leader do not accept “can’t” from the people you influence. Rather help them turn their can’t into can by focusing on what is possible. Don’t allow the people who you claim to lead to use the fact that they can’t do it all, as an excuse to do less than they possibly can. There is only so much time in a day and when it’s spent making excuses then it’s not invested in making progress. And speaking of time, that is the worst excuse of all, because no one in this world has more time than you. (Before you tell yourself that’s not true stop for a moment and think about it) You absolutely do not lack time, what you most likely lack is the ability to prioritize and the ability to distinguish between what’s merely urgent and what’s truly important. People who lack these abilities usually end up doing the easy stuff that accomplishes little while finding excuses for not doing the more difficult things that can lead to greatness. They feel busy because they are doing “stuff” all day long but if they are honest with themselves at the end of the day they will realize that most of that “stuff” was just a distraction from what they actually should have been doing. The real problem starts when you begin believing your own excuses. Take the “not enough time” excuse as an example... you feel pressured because you “can’t” get everything you want done when you want. You spend a great deal of time lamenting this “fact” rather than investing a few minutes to prioritize your activities to align them with your goals. You don’t accomplish what you want and you use that as proof that you don’t have enough time. You end up using one excuse to justify another excuse neither of which are valid. Breaking the bad habit of excuse making requires a tremendous amount of honesty....with yourself. It’s a tough habit to break and many people don’t try because the people around them accept their excuses. If that’s the case with you then I have some really basic advice for you. Just do something. Doing anything, even making a mistake, is better than doing nothing because a mistake can be fixed while it’s pretty hard to fix nothing. You don’t have to know where your path to success ends to start on your way; just do the next right thing and once you’ve done that then do it again and again. Pretty soon you’ll see where you’re going and you’ll be able to develop a plan to get there even sooner. When your mindset becomes one of “can’t” then you’ve virtually assured yourself that you won’t. When you convince yourself that you can’t or you have excuses prepared before you even try to succeed then you willingly sacrifice your potential for success. I heard someone say that success comes in cans and failure comes in “can’ts”. I don’t recall who said it but I agree with them 100%! Never let the fact that you can’t do it all prevent you from doing all that you can. When you start down that path of doing all that you can you may just discover that you can do a whole lot more than you ever thought possible. I understand that the “tone” of this post may feel a little harsh; accepting excuses in place of progress is even harsher. Don’t do that to yourself because odds are you are capable of so much more!