This is definitely not the first time you will hear the phrase “don’t give me excuses”. Many of us don’t like it when we are presented with excuses but the first mode we often go to when things didn’t go well is the excuse mode. We all agree that excuses suck! The light bulb moment on excuses for me happened when I sat down to understand why I still present excuses and not possibilities when things go wrong. I hope you find value in the three reasons why we should always avoid excuses. When I understood the impacts of excuses, I said “I’m done giving excuses. Unnecessary excuses suck!”.
1. Excuses are time consuming
Time is one of the most essential and irreplaceable commodities we have. Wasting time on presenting why something didn’t go well is definitely not a good idea except when such reason would be useful in the future. Excuses, no matter how short they are when given to defend ourselves, are nothing but a waste of time.
When we give positive feedback instead of excuses, we purposefully use our time and get ready for the next challenge. Life is full of challenges (good and bad), the earlier we tackle them the more fruitful we become. Instead of excuses, give possibilities.
2. Excuses overshadow reality
What is the difference between possibility and excuse? Possibility is simply something that can develop or become actual while excuse is an explanation that frees one from fault or blame. Constantly freeing ourselves from blame makes everyone else seemed to be at fault for what is sometimes our fault. This often covers reality. Several years ago, I was furious for weeks because I didn’t do well on my first SAT test as I wanted to. I blamed my situation on not having adequate resources and for being “busy” with other school work. Honestly, my preparation level did match the score I got. I took the test again with an improved level of preparation and the score was better.
Although I got a better score, I spent weeks wasting time and shifting the blame from me. When our first defense is excuse, we shut down the opportunity that could come from the aftermath and we definitely cover up the reality of the event. In the case of my first SAT, lack of preparation was the real reason I didn’t do well.
3. Excuses are seen as weaknesses
What people think of us is often said to be irrelevant but we all agree that people’s perspectives (an opinion formed from their experiences with us) of us do matter. What our bosses, colleagues, friends and even family members derived from their experiences with us can affect us negatively or positively. I’m pretty sure you know someone who does nothing but “cover-up” by always providing a plethora of excuses. There are some things we cannot commit to the hands of folks like this even though we love them.
When people conclude that we are weak and unreliable in doing some things, they unintentionally take some opportunities away from us. They do so because we gave them permission by constantly giving unnecessary excuses.
Excuses aren’t necessarily bad when they can be used to improve ourselves or a situation. I still give excuses but I keep them to myself. I consider them as Improvement Phrases when I’m doing an evaluation of an event. Unnecessary excuses suck and now “stink” to me. I can’t afford to waste my time, close my eyes against reality and be perceived as weak because of excuses. I hope you feel the same way too.