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.
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.
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.