He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. – Benjamin Franklin
Oops, there goes another excuse…
Do you ever catch yourself making excuses when things don’t entirely go your way?
Have you ever neglected taking responsibility for the events and circumstances of your life?
Have you ever tried to explain away why you didn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t or just wouldn’t do something?
These are all subtle signs that signify you are living a life of excuses. And these excuses subsequently prevent you from living to your full potential.
But what are excuses, really?
Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about people, events, and circumstances. They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to postpone taking action or simply as a means of neglecting responsibility.
Excuses are mainly a means of placing the blame of an internal problem on an external condition.
Why do we keep making excuses?
There are many reasons why people make excuses. In fact, everyone has a variety of reasons for making them. However, we mostly only make excuses for the following key reasons:
- Fear of Failure
- Fear of Embarrassment
- Fear of Success
- Fear of Change
- Fear of Uncertainty
- Fear of Responsibility
- Fear of Making Mistakes
- Perceived lack of confidence or resources
To successfully eliminate excuses we must first look at removing all traces of fear.
Fear traps and locks us away in the confines of our comfort zone. However, for the most part, fear is very much misunderstood.
Our fears typically emerge due to a lack of understanding, information, resources, experience or perspective.
If for any reason you lack in these areas, you will naturally struggle with self-confidence. As a result, you will fail to take the necessary actions that could help move your goals forward. You will, therefore, tend to make excuses for your life and circumstances in a feeble attempt to boost your self-esteem. However, all you’re really doing is creating the illusion of security.
You’re merely masking the pain with a painkiller. The pain is still there and will continue to persist until you finally figure out how to overcome your fears.
The Horrific Consequences of Making Excuses
Living a life of excuses can have dire and lasting consequences. Not only will excuses prevent you from reaching your full potential, but they will also hold you back from recognizing opportunities, strengths, and skills you might have that could help you overcome your life’s problems.
If you don’t challenge yourself to reach new heights, you will never really know what you’re truly capable of.
New opportunities lie hidden around every corner. However, you will never find them if you riddle your mind with unending excuses.
If you persistently make excuses, then you may very well succumb to the following consequences:
- A lack of responsibility and growth.
- Self-made self-limiting beliefs.
- Continuous regrets and “what if” scenarios.
- A pessimistic outlook on life.
- Poor judgment when it comes to making critical decisions.
- A paranoia that prevents you from taking decisive action.
- The constriction of your comfort zone.
- Mental blocks stifling proactive action and creativity.
These consequences certainly don’t result in a very fulfilling lifestyle. In fact, they paralyze us and prevent forward movement in all areas of our lives.
To overcome your excuses, you must first admit that you’re making them in the first place. This can, of course, be difficult. However, it’s entirely necessary if you want to avoid succumbing to the inevitable consequences. Ask yourself:
What excuses do I tend to make?
What am I settling for?
Why am I making these excuses?
Finally, list down the consequences that result from making excuses. Ask yourself:
How do these excuses prevent me from moving forward?
How do they cripple my ability to get what I want?
11 Types of Excuses You Might be Making
Excuses come in many forms, and we tend to make them in a multitude of ways.
Even though excuses vary from person-to-person, there are specific excuses that we all tend to make.
In this section, let’s break down these excuses and discuss what they mean and how we can better handle them when they crop up in our lives.
Of course, being vigilant and aware of our excuses can provide us with critical insights into our feelings, flaws, weaknesses, and fears. This can subsequently assist us to work through issues and problems far more quickly and easily.
With that in mind, let’s break down the 11 excuses that people tend to make.
Excuse #1: There’s just not enough time…
When you make this excuse, it means that you lack passion, focus, discipline, and direction. Likewise, it suggests that your priorities are out of sorts and that you may be struggling to manage your time most efficiently.
Alternatively, this excuse could indicate that you just don’t value your time or just don’t want to take the time to achieve your desired outcomes. In fact, the causes for this excuse could very well be narrowed down to procrastination and laziness.
When you catch yourself making this excuse, ask yourself:
How badly do I really want this?
A lack of desire could be a cause for concern.
Excuse #2: There’s just not enough money…
When you make this excuse, it means that you don’t consider money to be a priority in your life. Alternatively, you’re merely looking for an easy way to make money and, therefore, don’t have the desire, determination, persistence or patience needed to achieve financial security.
This excuse also suggests that you could simply be lacking strategy or ideas that could help you reach your financial objectives.
If it’s ideas and strategy you’re lacking, then commit yourself to reading several books about improving your finances. Alternatively, get a mentor or a financial coach who can help you gain the necessary knowledge and understanding you need to succeed financially.
Excuse #3: I don’t have an education…
When you make this excuse, it means that you lack creativity, inspiration, and desire. Moreover, it would seem that you also lack a willingness to work hard and go the extra mile to achieve your objectives.
There are numerous multi-millionaires and billionaires who have nothing more than a high school education. And some don’t even have that. However, they were creative, had a desire, and were willing to work harder than anyone else to achieve their goals.
Excuse #4: I’m just too old or too young…
When you make this excuse, it means you lack understanding, confidence or perspective.
Men and women of all ages have achieved incredible things in almost every age bracket. Therefore, you’re never truly too old or too young to attain your goals and objectives.
Yes, it might be a little more difficult at times. However, that’s where persistence and creativity come into play. You may need to persist for longer and challenge yourself to think outside the box. That’s where you’ll get your edge.
Alternatively, your age could actually work in your favor. It just depends on your perspective and your ability to adapt to your circumstances.
Above all else, make a concerted effort to learn from your failures and mistakes, then adapt your approach. This will very quickly shift your perspective about what’s possible to achieve.
Excuse #5: I don’t know how…
When you make this excuse, it means that you lack self-belief and confidence in your ability to achieve your goal.
Furthermore, it indicates that you simply haven’t taken the time to practice, to learn, or to gain the experience or education necessary to understand what’s required to get the job done.
This excuse is really very easy to combat. Simply LEARN how to do what you want to do by reading books, by gaining practical experience, by asking for help, etc.
Only through making mistakes over and over again will you eventually discover what works and doesn’t work. From there, just adjust your approach, and you will very quickly figure out an optimal path to your goal. 🙂
Excuse #6: I just can’t change…
When you make this excuse, it means you lack motivation and a definitive reason to change. Moreover, it suggests that haven’t mustered up the emotional pain you need to accelerate change.
When it comes to our motives and desires, we are always pulled forward by the desire for pleasure or pushed forward by the desire to avoid pain.
If you don’t believe you can change, then you simply haven’t associated enough pain to NOT changing.
Once you begin to look at all the dire consequences that will result from NOT making a change, that’s when you’ll realize that the motivation was always there. 🙂 Ask yourself:
If I don’t make this change, how will this affect my life in the weeks, months, and years ahead?
What am I likely to miss out on?
How am I going to feel?
How is this going to affect my relationship with others?
How will this affect my health?
How will this affect my career prospects?
What other negative consequences could result from not making this change?
Having written down all the negative consequences, it’s time to make a list of all the great things that could potentially transpire if you did decide to make a change. Ask yourself:
If I make this change, what could the potential benefits be?
How will I feel?
How will others feel?
How will my life improve today, next week, next month, and in the years to come?
What other positive benefits could result from making this change?
Excuse #7: I’m afraid to fail…
When you make this excuse, it means you lack understanding, confidence, knowledge, and experience.
Anthony Robbins once said that fear is nothing more than “False Evidence Appearing Real.” It’s our perspective of fear that frightens us and prevents us from moving forward. However, once we gain knowledge and understanding about the thing we fear, then in that moment we build the confidence we need to move forward and gain some valuable experience.
Subsequently, with enough experience under our belt, we develop not only self-confidence but also competence that can help propel us through our fears far more quickly and readily.
Also, consider that the road to success is always paved with obstacles, challenges, and problems. Along this path everyone makes mistakes. However, those who fail are those who simply give up prematurely.
Given this, it’s important to persist, persevere, and resist the temptation to give in to your excuses. Commit yourself to gaining the necessary knowledge, understanding, and experience, and you will slowly but surely develop the self-confidence you need to achieve your goals.
Excuse #8: It’s just not the right time…
When you make this excuse, it means you lack perspective, information, and the necessary resources.
Sometimes it’s just not the right time to take action. However, more often than not this is just a lame excuse that highlights you lack perspective and understanding. Additionally, you might just not have the necessary resources to deal with the circumstances at hand.
Given this, your first primary objective must be to acquire the necessary resources you need to help you achieve your goals.
Once your resources are in place, you may still need to gather more information about your predicament, which will subsequently transform your perspective.
The moment these items are checked off your list, you will quickly discover that the right time is always, right NOW!
Excuse #9: I have to plan thoroughly first…
When you make this excuse, it means you’re either lacking perspective, or you’re merely paralyzed by fear.
There’s nothing wrong with planning for the future or taking the time to lay out a clear plan of action. However, if planning is all you do, then this indicates that there might be underlying fears that are preventing you from moving forward.
Identify and overcome these fears and subsequently, you will overcome your need for over-planning.
Excuse #10: It just won’t work…
Each one of these qualities is crucial if you desire to eventually make things work. In fact, these qualities are absolutely essential for everything of value that you would like to create in your life.
Excuse #11: I’m just not inspired…
Have a think about what kind of habits you indulge in each day. Also, consider the typical routines and daily rituals you partake in throughout the day.
More often than not, you will find that inspiration won’t be a problem if you simply take the time to transform how you go about your day.
For instance, a lack of sleep could be the reason why you’re feeling so tired throughout the day. And when you’re feeling tired, you will naturally lack inspiration.
And if we dig a little deeper we might even find that it’s your diet that’s causing your sleepless nights, or that your lack of sleep is a result of not getting enough exercise. Moreover, just maybe, you’re simply not getting enough exercise because you’re working longer hours than usual, and therefore, don’t have time to allocate for exercise.
A lack of inspiration is often due to many interrelated factors that at first may seem unrelated. However, the deeper we dig, the more patterns we discover, and the more patterns we find, the more likely we are to identify where our lack of inspiration stems from.
9 Ideas to Help You Eliminate Your Excuses Forever!
In the previous section, we discussed specific types of excuses and presented some ideas on how to eradicate them from our lives. In this section, let’s discuss some general ideas, suggestions, and techniques we can use to eliminate all excuses for good.
Before digging into these strategies, it’s important to recognize that the excuses we make often lead to stagnation and a life of regrets. Moreover, success in any field of endeavor requires a period of discomfort where we must venture into unfamiliar territories that lead to unexpected scenarios. Keep this in mind as you work through the suggestions below.
Avoid Making Comparisons
Making comparisons between yourself and others will often make you feel disheartened, especially when you’re unable to live up to people’s standards of achievements.
Preferably, only compare yourself to your “best self.” No other comparisons are needed. If through your highest efforts you surpass your personal best, then that’s good enough, at least until your next attempt. 🙂
Avoid Dwelling on the Past
The moment we begin dwelling on past mistakes or failure is the moment we begin experiencing the emotion of regret.
Instead of taking responsibility for our decisions and actions, we immediately look to point the finger at someone or something else to justify our failures. As a result, we rationalize and make excuses for our failed attempts.
Given this, make an effort to bring your attention to the present moment rather than on your past. Yes, by all means, learn from your mistakes and failures, but do not use them as a platform for your encyclopedia of excuses.
Always Begin By Asking Questions
The moment you catch yourself making excuses, immediately ask yourself the following set of questions:
How badly do I really want this?
Why don’t I have what I want?
What excuses are getting in the way?
These questions will essentially help you to identify the GAP between your current and desired reality. This likewise will help you to get a better understanding of the circumstances that are holding you back from getting what you want most out of life.
The moment you identify these excuses, immediately examine what’s lacking, question the validity of your excuses and take immediate action to fill these areas with everything you need to achieve your goals and objectives. Ask yourself:
Is this a genuine REASON or is it simply an excuse?
If this is an excuse, then what is it that I’m currently lacking?
What do I need specifically that will help me move beyond this excuse?
What’s the next step I need to take right now that will move me closer to my goals?
Focus on Solutions and Opportunities
When making excuses, we often focus on problems, regrets, and on things that just didn’t work.
With this in mind, to eradicate excuses from your life, you must instead begin focusing on solutions, opportunities, and on the things that did actually work.
It’s a simple shift, but if we keep this principle at the forefront of our mind while making excuses, it will immediately transform our perspective of the situation at hand.
Seek Alternate Perspectives
Often the excuses we make are a result of a lack of perspective. We simply don’t have or understand the bigger picture. It’s like looking through a keyhole. You will never see the entire room — only a small section of that room.
Say for instance you looked through a keyhole and saw papers scattered on a table. It would be easy to assume that the entire room is an absolute mess. However, we don’t quite have the full picture. The rest of the room could be clean and spotless. However, our lack of perspective is preventing us from seeing the bigger picture.
Seek alternate perspectives by asking other people for their opinions, comments, and feedback. Get an understanding of how they see the situation before you commit to making your excuses.
Accept Full Responsibility for Your Failures and Mistakes
Excuses are often made because we just don’t want to take responsibility for our shortcomings.
When we take full responsibility for all our failures and mistakes, we quickly grow in confidence. Moreover, we feel empowered because life is no longer built upon luck or good fortune, but rather on our ability to successfully adapt to the changing conditions that life throws our way.
Learn from Past Experience
Instead of making excuses, commit to learning from this experience. Ask yourself:
What can I learn from this experience?
What has this experience taught me about myself, life and others?
How can I use this experience to do better in the future?
What action could I take right now that would help me take a step in this direction?
Focus on Your Strengths
When making excuses, we often focus on how inadequate and incapable we are. This limits our focus and brings to light all of our weaknesses.
To counter this, we should instead focus on our strengths — in particular how to use those strengths to make the best of every situation.
Cultivate Four Critical Qualities
And if you must make excuses, then at least keep them private. Nobody respects people who don’t take responsibility for their decisions and actions.
Benjamin Franklin once said that:
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
As harsh as that sounds, it’s probably not too far away from the truth. Sometimes we get so absorbed in making excuses about how things didn’t turn out the way we had expected, that we forget to focus on making the best of every situation — no matter what the outcome.
Just maybe, from today onward, we will remember Benjamin’s words and take them to heart. 🙂
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Would you like to optimize how you think about this topic? Would you like a method for applying these ideas to your life?
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 4 Excuses that will Prevent You from Succeeding @ Mr. Self Development
- 6 Simple Ways to Eliminate Your Excuses @ Dumb Little Man
- 6 Traits that Separate Winners from Whiners @ Pick the Brain
- 7 Tips for Moving through the Land of “If Only” @ Life Optimizer
- 99 Excuses for Not Making Ideas Happen @ The 99 Percent
- 106 Excuses that Prevent You From Ever Becoming Great @ Chris Brogan
- Being Extraordinary: Excuses You Need to Stop! @ Reason 4 Smile
- Do You Use “Lack of Motivation” as an Excuse? @ Scott H. Young
- How to Kills Your Excuses @ Zen Habits
- The Excuses Culture: Why We Protect Ourselves with Excuses @ The Daily Mind
- Top 5 Excuses You Use to Sabotage Your Life @ Change Your Thoughts