How Excuses Move You Backwards

Everyone has excuses for not going to the gym. My most recent justification for my slovenly behavior was that my “ex” was still a member there. Even if there was a small chance that a kettle bell would be hurled across the room at me, I rationalized that it was not worth the risk.

I am no stranger to coming up bad excuses.

I’ve been unable to go to work as a result of at least nine fictional funerals for my dead aunts, second cousins, dog walkers and other significant persons. Also on one occasion while laying on the beach I alleged that I had “probably eaten dog” when I ate at “the sketchy food truck down the street” and I was “huddled over the toilet for the foreseeable future.” I hung up and opened a Corona.

It seems to be a universal truth that we make mistakes and we make up excuses to explain our less than perfect behavior. We’ve been doing this for a while now, and it seems that usually we’re not pretty good at it. The snake told me to eat the apple  and my dog ate my homework both would, in the company of most, elicit and eye roll or if you grew up with my grandmother, “a kick in the pants.”

What few people realize is that their excuses have a greater negative impact than the failures behind them. When you make an excuse you neglect to learn from your failure and instead you actually move yourself backwards. You rob yourself of the chance to learn and grow from your mistake. It is better to have a relentless pursuit of success.

People often fail to realize that the pursuit of success and acceptance of failures can co-exist. It’s my belief that they work in harmony. Understanding, accepting, and acting upon what you’ve learned is a tenet of success. If you follow this philosophy, there is no need for excuses.

When you choose not to make an excuse for failure you are confronted with the truth. And it will usually be ugly. The truths behind failures are big and hairy and probably unpleasant to address. For nine months I skipped going to the gym. I made excuses and I ignored what was right there in front of me. The truth. The truth is that I’m lazy and I just didn’t really want to go. I wanted to be in better shape but the thought of having to work for that repulsed me.

I never confronted the fact that it was my laziness that was the reason for me not going to the gym and being out of shape. But when I stopped making excuses and confronted the truth, it pushed me to act.

Knowing the truth is a powerful thing. The truth can be confronted, understood and then acted upon. Confronting excuses is like trying to grab handful of air. I now only use excuses when things are legitimately out of my control. I feel like I’m accomplishing more and people actually believe me.

Although, in my opinion, it does seem plausible that the food truck did serve dog.

Author Chris Wyman is a modern day renaissance man, a philosopher and a reality sculptor. He believes in living a deliberate life of dreams actualized.  

Man is lazy image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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