What is an excuse?
Excuses are mechanisms to help us feel better about behaviors we need to justify, mechanisms to avoid the truth, mechanisms to avoid scrutiny, mechanisms to self-preserve while self-destructing, mechanisms to avoid situations and to relieve us of the calling to lead a responsible life and attain goals, mechanisms to tell lies and live lies, mechanisms to temporarily boost our ego by inflating our worthiness in the eyes of others while deflating personal self-worth, mechanisms to hide shortcomings, and mechanisms to put our failures in a better light.
How can we recognize habitual excuse makers?
Think of the people in your life who always have a reason (a self-rationalized “excuse”) why they are not succeeding or who always have a reason why their life sucks today. No one likes a habitual excuse maker. We all make excuses, but think of people who consistently find ways to psychologically and emotionally hide failure and to resist accepting defeat and taking responsibility for their actions. Habitual excuse makers define themselves by the excuses they make about why they cannot be who they want to be or do what they truly want to do. They believe that with instead of working harder, excuses will get them by.
What should you do if you are a habitual excuse maker?
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Being an excuse maker can be difficult to change if it has become a way of life. While it is easier to make excuses about circumstances rather than actually doing anything about them, part of growing up involves taking responsibilities for our actions and imperfections and admitting our failures. Wade Sadlier says that ““The immature person makes excuses to avoid the responsibility of his own potential”.
Taking responsibility for actions and associated outcomes means entertaining the notion that you might need to rethink how you go about your life. Are you open to the possibility of necessary wholesale changes in parts of your life or do you tend to hide behind facades of excuses to shield you from personal guilt? Jordan Belfort says that “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it.” What is the “bullshit story”? It is the excuse.
Do you accept performance or do you accept excuses? Be humble and open to becoming profoundly aware of your shortcomings so that you might be in a better position to achieve your full potential. Develop performance goals and develop sustained momentum to reaching those goals. Do whatever it takes, invest in yourself, and push beyond your limits.
Be ready to make the change!! Most people are not ready to do the work required to change. People resist change, yet change is the only constant in life. When your life becomes so intolerable that you realize that the only way to overcome your reality is to move through life and beyond life, then you will change. In the meantime while you continue to self-perpetuate the excuse of “I’m not ready”, don’t expect friends to listen to or give credence to your bullshit story.
Believe in yourself!! Most people do not believe in themselves. If you don’t believe in yourself, don’t expect friends to indefinitely believe in you. Eventually they will realize that their belief will not matter becaues you are not ready to do the work required to establish your own belief in self. Become self-reliant and trust and believe in yourself. You have the right to live your life as you envision it, and you concurrently have the right and responsibility to own your successes, failures and bullshit stories.
Be willing to move!! Most people continue doing what they know. They are stuck in a place they think is comfortable because they are afraid to be vulnerable and to grow in a new situation. When others realize that you are no longer relevant in your comfort zone, you will moved forcefully. Before this happens, stretch out of the zone and maneuver through the unknown – have an exciting life NOW. It’s never as bad as it seems. Also, don’t expect to be recognized in your stagnant comfort zone. Use the tools from your new experiences to continue propelling you forward into areas where you feel stronger, more confident and more capable than you ever realized possible.
What should you do if you are a friend with a habitual excuse maker?
Discontinuing a bad habit of making excuses for people’s excuses. Do not accept or tolerate peoples’ poor behavior and actions that are primarily intentional and within their control. Surround yourself with quality people. John Wooden said “Never make excuses. Your friends don't need them and your foes won't believe them.” He was right – friends don’t let friends make excuses and they don’t listen to bullshit stories over and over. What do friends do for friends? Friends encourage development of clarity, confidence, courage and commitment. Friends encourage friends to become committed to changing and commitment to stop making excuses. Friends encourage friends to be clear about their life instead of living in a haze of excuses. Friends encourage friends to be confident and to find self-worth based on reality not a self-worth rooted lies and excuses. Having this commitment and clarity is key to establishing the confidence and courage necessary to plunge out of the comfort zone into a word full of possibilities where our potential can be tapped into.
June 2, 2014 marked the 10th anniversary of the day I graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, and on this day, I reflected on how proud my entire class was of this accomplishment. For some, this was the biggest moment of their life! How can we remain proud or maintain a strong self-esteem after such an experience? We cannot live our entire lives in that one moment...there has to be something that we can be proud of each day.
You might be thinking that pride is a bad thing, but someone once told me that pride is the virtue of respecting oneself. Pride is a rational evaluation of self where one has done something worthy of the praise received. Here's where it gets real! A proud person often wants to continuously improve him or herself. My personal desire to improve myself motivated and propelled me to create the Live In Self Community. Here we don’t measure our achievements against anyone else’s achievements; this would be being prideful. We want you to be proud of who you are, so we encourage you to “give it 100”, give it your best, not someone else’s best.
Let me offer an honest thought: Sometimes, I take for granted things that happen on a daily basis that are both ordinary and extraordinary and forget the value of experiences that I have accomplished. Sometimes, my gratitude is lacking. In daily moments of gratitude, we witness infinite levels of success in ourselves and others.
While we should remember the past and be proud of experiences like a college graduation, we should also look to the present for moments to be proud of. With a sense of humility, take a look around and discover or recollect what and who you can be proud of in all dimensions of your life. Live inside out.
Here are 5 tips for staying proud in the present:
Ms. Bhakti Mary
I am an optimistic, positive, generous and driven author who is passionate about self-improvement.
The essence of who you are does not lie in the past. What matters is what you are willing to do NOW. You are the presence.