Today, we’re talking about the ‘E’ word. If procrastination had a twin, it’ll definitely be “Excuses”. We could define excuses a hundred different ways, but I think the most impactful definition I’ve ever heard is this one; an excuse is a tool of the incompetent, a monument of nothingness, and those that use it are not wise. It’s called the Excuse Poem.
The first thing that always stands out to me is that excuses are tools. Now, a tool is something you use to get something done. The only difference is you only make excuses when you can’t get something done. So, what then are excuses good for? People believe excuses can buy them time, save their face, or basically deliver them from the evil day. The only thing that ends up happening though, is that overtime, it could eventually become your favourite tool. And when all you have are excuses, then you can never get anything else done.
It’s like an addictive game because it always works the first time, and the second, and the third. Just like gambling, it’s a wormhole that draws one in, you tend to find out that you can get away with a lot of things simply by saying, “I couldn’t do X because of Y.” It’s hard to tell when it becomes a habit, but eventually it does. It’s also hard to know when it stops working. Everyone starts to see you for who you truly are, a runaway. Yes, you might be very skilled at what you do, but excuses could easily be the end of you. And that leads us to the second word, incompetence.
Excuses are the breeding ground for incompetence. The world would be a better place if we were honest with ourselves about what we could do or do better. In a tech-driven age like ours, everyone has grown to adapt around their comfort zones. Giving up on excuses is the only way to grow, to try new things, to make mistakes, and truly be successful. Do you want to be a more competent person, and gain more trust with everyone around you, then do these two things.
- Quit making excuses.
- Repeat 1.
When you’re giving your next task at the office, decide on the spot if it’s something you want to do or can do, and if you can’t say it. No excuses. If you can, however, then just do it. It’s always better to offer no excuses than bad ones. And all excuses are bad ones.
Let’s be honest, we all make excuses, I mean, it’s a part of mainstream culture now. That’s where procrastination comes from, it’s where the fear of failure comes from, and it is the quickest way to stay dormant. But excuses don’t burn calories! If we truly believe in our dreams and our goals and our plans, and the picture of that grand future, then we have to give up excuses. Excuses are so powerful, one excuse can negate 50 opportunities.
So how can I stop making excuses? I think it’s important to know WHY you’re making excuses in the first place. I mean, work is unpleasant and exhausting and all the terrible adjectives you can imagine. It has to get done anyways, because it’s not going to go away. Is it that you are unmotivated, anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed? Do you find yourself doing too much or too little? As you can see most of the reasons are internal. The only person we need to have the conversation with is ourselves. Once you’ve done that and accepted responsibility for everything you have been assigned to, then read the next paragraph.
Stop overthinking! Don’t waste your time thinking about everything that could go wrong and try to think positively instead. Yes, they are both valid thought processes, but it’s really easy to get wrapped up in the negative. Don’t spend your time looking at other people and comparing their work with yours. The only thing that should matter to you is you and your progress. Look rather at people who have succeeded and get inspired.
Then change your habits and your perspectives. Those two things work hand in hand. Your habits define your perspective and when your perspectives change you realise that you trade habits in the process. Redefine failure. Redefine success. It’s a long walk to freedom, but the earlier you start to change your habits the quicker you realise how useless excuses can be.
I’ll leave you with a quote; you can have results or excuses but not both.
Go and be great, and hopefully, excuse-free.