Doesn’t life get in the way sometimes? You’ve committed yourself to an action. Prepared to follow through and get the job done. Then the unforeseeable pops up. It happens. What do we call a change in plans? Excuses, reasons, explanations or justifications.
Is this an isolated occurrence or does it happen on a regular basis? That’s what we look at in this post.
An internal alarm should be sounding off when you hear an excuse forming in your mind. It’s worth thorough examination. This could well be a blind spot in your thought processors. Unaware your words and actions maybe holding you back. This behaviour may even impact others.
Have you ever heard the beginning of the following sentences come out of your mouth?
- I can’t exercise today because….
- I detoured on my diet because…
- I was late because…
- I behaved the way I did because…
The top two show lack of discipline. The excuse is so you’re not haunted all day from breaking a commitment to yourself. Sloppy justifications make something we wanted changed, remain exactly where it is. This attitude stagnates progress.
I ate cake when I was on my diet ‘because’… Who do you think the excuse is for? Nobody cares about your weight more than you do.
Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success. ― Israelmore Ayivor
Numbers 3 and 4 are justification for others. You’re late and it impacts people you’re committed too. How many times do you think this will be tolerated before you’re ‘that person’ in the team, people would prefer not to work with? Would you rely on someone who is consistently late?
Every day your friend arrives at work on time. Yet when they meet others outside of business they’re late. Each time they have a different excuse. You listen to their explanations politely. Regardless of how much we love and respect this person, we’re annoyed.
The cry wolf mentality.
Your reliable friend does not show up like they said they would. You automatically begin to worry. You start making calls. Hoping everything is okay. When they arrive you listen intently due to such odd behaviour.
As opposed to your other friend who is always late. On one occasion something major goes wrong. It’s their first valid reason. There’s no concern as it’s their usual behaviour. They never arrive on time.
You eventually find out it was bad news. Yet it’s not given half as much attention or credence as that of a person who rarely lets us down.
Like crying wolf, if you keep looking for sympathy as a justification for your actions, you will someday be left standing alone when you really need help. ― Criss Jami
- ‘I can’t do this’. Is no different to ‘I can’t do this because…’
- ‘No I won’t’. Rather than ‘No I won’t because…’
The ‘because’ will be followed by an excuse. It is never the detail you will work with. It’s the non-action that affects you.
A few examples. Excuses where others are impacted.
- A soldier has been killed. Do you think the family’s pain changes because of the excuse?
- Think about when a bully has done wrong. No excuse is acceptable for their behaviour.
- A car accident. No excuse will change the damage.
- Say you’re moving house. Everything is organised, ready to go. The Remover phones to cancel. Explaining their reasons. The only thing you hear is, he is a no-show. The rest is irrelevant. You either fall apart or go into survival mode. Working out how to fix the inconvenience.
- A parent with an addiction lets their children down. Research highlights the tragedy this creates within the family. We understand the pull drugs has over a person. The kid doesn’t care about the studies on addiction. The child is affected by the actions.
- “Sure I can make dinner for your party of five”. On the day, you ring up and say, “you can’t make dinner ‘because…’.” The person on the receiving end can’t work with the excuse. While you’re busy detailing why you have let them down they go into overdrive. Thinking about how to fix their newly arrived dilemma.
- “Mum and dad I was late home because I missed my train”. Do you think they care why you were late? They become worried that something may have happened to you. Parents don’t care for the excuse. You agreed on a time and you did not meet it.
We have become comfortable with telling the story behind the action or lack thereof.
Excuses are similar to accessories we wear to complete an outfit. They’re fancy, colourful and easy to present. They’re not required but certainly spruce up the detail.Excuses are similar to accessories worn with an outfit. Not required but certainly spruce up the detail. @thedigger0 Click To Tweet
A man walks into his bank, terribly burdened at his job loss. He is three months behind in his mortgage repayments. If only the Manager hears him out, it will all be understood. The man eagerly tells the Banker about a couple of interviews he has lined up.
Financial Institutions don’t care about excuses. The man is not provided with extra time to balance what is owed, due to his job loss or future interviews. An extension on the house repayments is written into bank policies. Interest is still charged. If he doesn’t meet the extended terms, legal proceedings will begin.
Have you ever rehearsed an excuse? What about brain storming? Thinking of a number of explanations not to do such and such. Rejecting several ideas before you come up with one that you think will be acceptable. Attempting to let yourself off the hook. Lying to get out of a commitment.
We do this is to reduce another person’s disappointment in us. Do we make up these colourful excuses for others? Or do we have these explanations ready so we don’t feel bad?
Make it count.
There will be plenty of valid excuses why you can’t fulfil an obligation. The future is not foreseeable, plans are re-arranged or cancelled by life’s demands. Make sure when you affect others it’s for reasons that count. Don’t become ‘that person’ who is known not to pull through.
RELATED: What’s your excuse?
When the excuse becomes too much.
Its evaluation time when you’re weighed down by the excuses of another. You may have to question what the connection is all about.
- Is the relationship one sided? Is the other person putting as much into the relationship as you are?
- Is the other person taking you for granted?
- Should you address the issues with the other person?
- Ask yourself; will it be acceptable to constantly endure a particular behaviour and the excuse that goes with it? If the answer is no, then you have to decide what to do next.
- It may be time to re-evaluate the relationship and see if it’s worthy of continuing.
- In a work situation a Manager would be addressing apparent excuses. Teams function well when everyone is pulling their weight. Morale is lowered when individuals have to constantly cover for a work colleague.
If excuses are not used sparingly they become nothing more than fluff. Often meaning commitment has been reneged upon. An action is meant to take place and yet the complete opposite will happen.
We all know life presents many twists. Plans are changed and re-organised at the last minute. Don’t be ‘that-person’ who impacts everyone with continued justifications. Unreliable backfires and trust is hard to regain.
Agreeing to terms and sticking with arrangements shows consistency. When you don’t do as you said you would, people become immediately concerned. You’re known for follow through and not for excuses. That’s a reputation worth keeping.