Daily Archives: February 22, 2013

Eliminating Excuses


Most of us have experienced failure in our lives.  My earliest encounter with failing  entered into my life at the age of 13.  It was then that I played fast-pitch baseball for the first time.  I was horrible.  I batted a miserable .011.  I got one hit the entire season when the pitcher “accidentally” hit my bat with one of his pitches.  I could have made excuses such as, “the other guys had played for years; this was my first season.  Rather that excuse my poor performance, I accepted the responsibility for improving myself.  I practiced for ten months.  When the second season rolled around, my batting average sky-rocketed to .558. 

Yes, at times, each of us has failed in some endeavor. Perhaps we failed to do what we should have done.  At other times we were guilty of not doing something which we should have accpmlished.  Once we were questioned about our failings, our focus should of been on accepting personal responsibility and making an honest admission of our faults.  Instead, many have been guilty of making excuses.  John Burroughs has an interesting thought to consider on failure: he said, “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”

What do you suppose is the significant difference between one who consistently achieves the expected results and the person who habitually fails in accomplishing his objectives?   And how can you tell if one remains a success though they have suffered a devastating defeat, or have become a failure?  How can you tell if you have now become a failure?   This is so easy to discern, for all one must do is to listen for the excuses to roll in.  Failures make it their habit to manufacture excuses when adversity comes; it’s why they have a history of failures. They continue doing what failures do, make excuses. Successful people consistently own their shortcomings and seek to learn from them.  The person who really wants to succeed will search for a way; the other person will invariable seek an excuse to take the focus off their failings. Don Wilder said, “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.”  The successful, when encountered with an obstacle or set-back will accept responsibility, set goals, establish objectives, and create actionable steps which will enable them to climb the ladder of success.  The Failure however, makes excuses in a feeble attempt to justify his role in the problem.   Florence Nightingale was quoted as saying, “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.”  And neither should the modern-day leader.

Being a success is not quite as easy as it may seem.  It pre-supposes that you have relinquished  your “right” to take the easy way out, by refusing to submit excuses.   It means that when you have a temporary failure, you will at once ask yourself,  “what could I have done differently” rather than “why am I constantly placed in a position to fail”?

1.   Dedicate yourself to the development of problem solving skills. If something is important to you, you will find a way to fix the issue.   If not, then you’ll find an excuse in hopes it will satisfy your insecurities.

2.  There must be a commitment to change one’s attitude towards disappointments and set-backs. To eliminate the excuse-making from one’s life, a concrete decision must be made to “Stop making excuses and begin to make some positive and constructive changes to your situation.

George Washington Carver had little patience with excuse-makers.  He was heard to say the following about excuses:  “99% of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”  This is certainly true.

3.   Adopt the philosophy that set-backs are the key that will open the door of success for you.   You must understand that you can fail without being a failure.  Failure need not be final until you begin making excuses, or unless you make it the final chapter in your book of life.

4.  Stop making excuses and begin at once to search for solutions.    You must understand that life is full of options if one only knows where to look for them.  There is always a way…  The portrait of your dreams may not be delivered in the frame you had custom-designed, but if you, the artist, will begin to touch up the painting which you call failure, there is every reason to believe that through this disappointment, your picture might one day become as favored a painting as a Michelangelo. Did you know that most great ideas were born out of adversity? There was a problem that frustrated the crowd, but someone decided to find a solution to the problem. Most threw away the key which would have unlock the window of opportunity.

However, there was one small, seemingly insignificant face in the crowd that said, “I will let failure become my Teacher.” I will learn. I will experiment. I will climb this mighty mountain. I will scale her heights. There doesn’t appear to be a solution now, but I will persist until I find a way. There are always options! There is always a better way. I must probe until she introduces herself to me in my search for her. Greatness will come once my failing meets with creativity and persistence. I will not quit! I will not blame anyone for my situation!

Excuses Must Be Eliminated!


It’s not my fault, he said. Well, it certainly isn’t mine, she exclaimed! The leader will invariably be forced to deal with the various excuses that people make.

From the outset, one must understand how critical it is for one to make a conscious decision to terminate life lived under the negative and highly unproductive regime of blame-shifting, negativity, and excuse-making.  Listed below are two common allies in the army of excuses.

  • I can’t.”   One must choose to change the focus by rephrasing the “I can’t” into a positive and profitable question: “How can I” defeat my foe?   Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me.”  I can is what makes a great person!
  • It is not my fault. The fault belongs to ….. This must change to a positive question as well. It doesn’t matter who deserves the blame, the best use of my time and energy is to determine the root cause and seek solutions.

Isn’t it interesting how people who have a fear of failing, can conjure up countless excuses rather than admitting how frightened they are to tackle the issue or task?  The words “fear” and  “frightened” were just used in the above statement. But how does fear and excuse-making work together in harmony to defeat us as we march toward our dreams?

F.E.A.R. stands for: Finding Excuses And Reasons.   Isn’t this what happens nearly every time a problem arises. People will flee to the hills in order to escape the assault of accountability. When one’s flight has been intercepted, a new approach is often used. The decision to utilize this tactic is as old as the first man and woman who lived. After yielding her will to the Tempter, Eve immediately played the Blame Game by shifting her failure over to Adam. Adam in turn, decided to cast blame and accountability upon God for his moral and spiritual failure: ” God, this is not my fault, I am not the one to blame here, it is the woman’s fault, you know, the very one whom Thou hast given to me.”   Can you believe that Adam actually blamed the Creator of the Universe for his failure? Such is the history of mankind. While change transpires with the speed of light, some things seldom change. The one constant has been an individual’s unwillingness to accept personal responsibility for mistakes in judgment; errors in decision-making; yielding to temptation; and becoming accountable for “the project” which went south on during our watch.

John Maxwell recently said this about excuses: “Excuses are the Exits off of the highway to accomplishment!”  If this be true, and I believe that it is, then one must accept that the wrong exit will most assuredly lead the driver on a detour headed straight into the failure zone.  No one really wants to live there.  Certainly no one wakes up dreaming of spending their life in such a horrid and putrefying place. This detour is not “the destination spot” of America or the world.  Once a driver veers off the highway of personal responsibility and accountability, the bypass will take those in the car far from their original course.  The tragedies are legion.  One wastes and loses valuable time while on the detour.   Furthermore, one may never find the road to success again.  The driver of this vehicle must follow his roadmap carefully.  He must identify the “excuse exits” and commit to following the predetermined course.  What are some common “excuse exits?”

  • It is not fault, so why should I get involved.
  • I am too busy.  I cannot possibly take on another responsibility.
  • I cannot get anyone to help me.
  • What good will it do anyway.
  • I don’t have the money.
  • This is just too hard.
  • Why should I be the one that…..

I hope you get the idea.   We can use several excuses, but how will the excuse accomplish the needed objective?

It was Benjamin Franklin who once remarked, that “a person who is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else!  How completely prophetic this statement has proven to be in the lives of the masses.


I have taken the position that an excuse is a reason which has been stuffed with a lie. Furthermore, my personal philosophy for the last 20 years has been:  No EXCUSES, only a careful EXAMINATION of the opportunity, and then EXECUTION.  

What do you think?   Have you been guilty of, or do you work with an excuse-maker?  The trouble with always leaving yourself a way out through the vehicle of an excuse, is that most always take it.
Look for my next article on eliminating excuses from our lives.

%d bloggers like this: