Exactly when does an explanation become an excuse? And how do you get past it?
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Exactly when does an explanation become an excuse? And how do you get past it? This week we’re Off Balance On Purpose in Phoenix.
Excuses have a very important function in that they remove blame and responsibility. For example, when you are excused from jury duty, you don’t have to go! Excused from a traffic ticket, you don’t have to pay it. If you’re caught out of class, or out of line, a “hall pass” becomes your golden ticket! You’ve been conditioned through your life to value and use valid excuses. But let’s look at the flip side for just a moment. How exactly have your “excuses” harmed you, or dramatically limited your opportunities? Consider these examples. Oh, I’m just not good at that. I’m under a lot of stress right now. It’s because of how I was raised. This runs in my family. I have a “condition.” That’s not my responsibility. It’s out of my control. There wasn’t enough time. I would have and totally could have, except for … well, you know.
When we play the excuse card, we don’t absolve ourselves of responsibility. We define ourselves as excuse makers. We limit ourselves from growth opportunities. We deceive ourselves thinking we did all we could, when we selfishly found the path of least resistance. And if that’s what you want to do, fine. But own it. Don’t make an excuse.
What if we could “excuse” all of our excuses, dismiss them from our lives entirely? If you have other priorities, say so. Don’t use limitations to justify, use them to clarify what’s important and become more resourceful. Get honest with yourself and with others about how much effort is required, and whether or not you’re willing to expend it. Draw the lines that define your boundaries, and what you value most in life.
Living without excuses is possible, and gives you greater control and respect. You might not even we fully aware that you’re making excuses, so start there. Ask someone you admire to call you out. And it won’t take long to realize life is more rewarding when your excuses are excused. Until next week, stay Off Balance On Purpose.
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