During a recent hospital visit I had time to reflect on some past Grasshopper Notes. This one hopped out at me:
“You’ll Run Out Of Breath Before You Run Out Of Excuses.”
Have you ever noticed that excuses are never ending? The antithesis of personal culpability comes in the form of an excuse, the constant issuance of which will leave you breathless.
Need validation? Ask just about any high school student who’s failing a subject the reason why. You will get a never-ending bevy of responses like: “ALL the kids are failing” to “The teacher doesn’t like me” and everything in between.
The biggest and most lame excuse we offer is, “I tried.” I remember my hypnosis teacher Dr. Dave Dobson asking us to “try” and pick up a pen from the table. He was quick to go “Yoda” on us and point out that we were either picking it up or we weren’t.
“Try,” according to Dave, was a word we learned in toilet training. When we didn’t make it to the bathroom for whatever the reason, we found out very quickly that exclaiming, “I tried” absolved us of any responsibility. We carried that learning forward and became excuse-making machines.
The difficulty is that excuses are like bad checks; they can’t be cashed. We keep writing them but there is no capital to back them up.
I find the ultimate catchall excuse to be: “That’s just the way I am.” When we can’t justify our actions, we encompass every known excuse into this empty, six-word declaration. You know you’ve run into a world-class excuser when you hear this phrase.
Excuses will always delay our progress. If you are offering a steady stream of them, your forward progress will be dammed up and you’ll be held in place by your own excuses. There’s no excuse for that.
A life of justifying is a life of lying. When you start to retire your excuses one-by-one, you begin to breathe easier and the dam begins to break apart without any huffing and puffing on your part.
If you just found an excuse for why you can’t begin this retiring process, plan on staying where you are until you run out of breath.
All the best,
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