There is always something that holds you back! Why do we always make excuses? An excuse is an unconscious defense mechanism to justify or explain a behavior or feelings in order to avoid a true explanation. If you are constantly rationalizing your behavior by making excuses, you won’t accomplish very much. A long time ago, you made an excuse and someone accepted it.
It probably started with your parents, teachers or relatives. It really doesn’t matter! Making an excuse became a habit, albeit a bad habit as soon as someone accepted it. Making excuses keep you from getting to the true explanation. We make excuses because we do not want to face the truth! Excuses are in two forms. It is the answer given when someone asks you why you did not do what you said you would do. The other form of excuse is the lie you give yourself why you did not accomplish your goal or task.
I see potential greatness in my classroom, but many do not reach their potential. I hear good, bright students who never do much because they are used to making excuses. Many people make excuses because they do not want to face the truth! The truth is they did not try hard enough or they didn’t really want to succeed. Success is scary! You have to overcome fear to succeed. In high school, it may mean losing your friends. When you finish school, you may lose money, respect or more. Your first excuse is not even trying!
If you do not have goals, you won’t have excuses. Simple enough, you don’t try to do anything so you won’t have excuses. Remember, this is a defense mechanism to minimize your risk. You are about to graduate high school or college and you are more concerned with security than finding a career that you really want to pursue. There are many careers that offer security such as various government jobs, teaching, nursing, engineering, and other careers that have a shortage.
I do not have a problem with people who select these careers for the right reasons. I am concerned with people who select those careers because they are settling! I had a bright student in class who said she wanted to be a Registered Nurse. I asked her why? Her response surprised me! She wanted to be a doctor, but felt she could not go to school for that long. So she is settling and may be unhappy with her choice although she will rationalize it by giving the excuse that works for the moment.
On the Job Training
My parents taught me a lot of good things although I did not appreciate it at the time. First and foremost, they were successful role models. My parents had all the reasons for failure. They were immigrants, undereducated, little or no money and spoke very little English. They did not know they could fail and had the courage to risk. They taught me to try and you will succeed. They taught me soft skills such as positive work ethic, self management, motivation, good attendance, valuing education, willingness to learn, critical thinking and a lot more.
My parents did the impossible because they kept going when others would stop. When they became successful, they did not change. I got what I needed versus what I wanted! Formal education was a given and I spent a lot of time working with them getting on the job training. I did not realize the training I received by just being around the business and the people in it. My parents never let me get away with making excuses because they never did. No excuses mean you don’t stop the first time you fail.
Three (3) Habits to Change
Let’s talk about you! If you make excuses every time you fail, you need to change. How can you change, if you have formed this bad habit for so long? It won’t be easy and it shouldn’t be. It takes twenty-one days to establish or break a habit. It takes effort to overcome a bad habit or establish a good habit. All you have to do is go on a diet to realize that. I lost weight (35-40 lbs.) roughly thirty-four years ago and have kept it off! It was not easy and I made a lot of changes. This one small success helped me take on bigger risks and achieve success. I left my nice safe position at a Fortune 100 company to work for a small to medium size electronics firm soon after this success.
Success breeds more success. It starts with small changes or successes and you willing to risk more and more. How do you use your success for more success? It is the approach! I take big; no I mean huge goals and break them down to daily tasks. If I perform the daily tasks, the goal will take care of itself. I am not saying that you do not need to adjust or adapt to the situation, but you concentrate on the details. Pay attention to the details and the goal will happen. Isn’t that what a budget does? You pay attention to your expenses by chasing the pennies and dollars because you will accomplish your financial goals.
I often heard people talk about fear. Is it fear of success or failure? I notice students in my classes who stop trying because they failed so many times. They gave up! Imagine trying so many times and giving up. The guy who started Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) failed a lot too. He finally succeeded after many failures in his sixties! Just think if he gave up. There are many stories of people who succeed in life because they never give up. When you give up, you buy into an excuse. You accept whatever excuse you came up with for failure. Making changes to your goals and keep trying is not giving up.
Doing nothing is just like making an excuse! Procrastination is a form of excuses. Complaining is another form of an excuse. An excuse sounds a lot like you are just complaining about your situation. Take action! Start with your habits and make changes with your bad habits and replace them with good ones. Change your approach to problem solving and setting goals. Break them down so you can achieve success. Don’t let fear stop you. Whether it is fear of failure or success, you need to take risks to succeed. Doing nothing yields nothing! Why wait any longer? You can start right now, it is your future. There is always something, but you can do something about it.
Photo by: Pat Guiney
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There is always something, but you can do something about it.
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