I know how tempting and addictive giving excuses are. It has become an integral part of so many of our lives. Even though we know that we are making excuses deep down within, we are wounded so badly in this trap, that it seems almost impossible for us to stop making excuses anymore.
“I want to go for a jog, but…”, “I want to start a business, but…”, “I want to apply for a job interview, but…”, “I want to xyz but lmn”. Whatever comes after the ‘but’ is nothing but an excuse.
Making excuses is the easy way out. You feel like giving up? You tell yourself you worked too hard so it’s ok to give up. You feel like quitting because it’s painful? You tell yourself to not go too hard on yourself and just call it quits. You feel like watching Netflix instead of working? You tell yourself you are done for the day and need some refreshments for your mind. You don’t feel like waking up early in the morning? You tell yourself you slept too late.
And the list goes on and on…
Well, I am here to be your lame next-door neighbor who’s gonna call the cops to force you to wrap up your excuse party you have been in for so damn long.
Why do we make excuses?
#1 Your mind gets the better of you
There is no denying the fact that our minds are naturally inclined towards seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. That’s how we are hardwired.
You are more likely to quit anything that’s giving you pain, even if that pain is good for you, and do something that instantly puts you at ease and is more enjoyable.
This is probably why you’d never make excuses to go to a party or to scroll through social media but would look for reasons to not do the work on a weekend you know it’s gonna be good for your career.
But having said all that, taking cover under the natural tendency of your mind and citing this as a reason for you making excuses is also a goddamn excuse.
#2 You don’t want it bad enough
You make excuses when you don’t really want it bad enough. That’s the simple reality of life.
If you are thirsty for a couple of days and are also lost in a desert, then at that point would you be able to make any excuses to not go and look for water proactively?
Would you procrastinate? Would you get lazy about it and be like, “Ok, I don’t feel like it, so maybe I will go look for it tomorrow”?
If you are not crazy and wanna stay alive, you’d literally bust your ass and do everything humanly possible, from searching for water to drinking your own piss, to fulfill your bodily needs.
You have to ‘want to have’ something as bad as you want to breathe to actually be able to do it for a sustainable period of time.
#3 You get stuck in a loop
Another reason why we make so many excuses is that we totally lack self-awareness. We don’t know who we are or what we are capable of.
Because of this we simply assume that we won’t be able to do the x,y,z thing because it already seems so far-fetched in our minds, that we don’t even bother to try it out in the first place.
You don’t go to the gym because you assume that since you have been a couch potato for all your life, it’s impossible for you to move your ass.
You don’t start reading because you think that since you have never read a single book in your entire life and have been a little bit too engrossed watching Suits all your life, it’s just out of your bounds to start reading.
You don’t start that side business because you have been in a 9-5 for the better part of your life and you just don’t think that it’s plausible for you to make money and actually become rich.
#4 You want to save your faces
Then sometimes we make excuses because we are not so sure if we’d be able to do the job successfully or not, so we are like “Screw it, I am not even gonna try it.”
We grossly underestimate our abilities and get overpowered by the fear of embarrassment that we never take the plunge. Succumbing to any kind of rejection and playing low is no way to live your life.
You don’t talk to the person you find attractive because you fear what will happen if he says no, you don’t ask questions or what’s in your mind to someone you are not very familiar with because you fear that you’d make a fool of yourself, you don’t try to learn something new because you don’t wanna look stupid.
These are all just excuses you make.
#5 You don’t think it’s urgent
This is one of the biggest reasons why we make excuses and procrastinate. We just don’t think it’s urgent enough.
Back to the #1 point, our brain is more likely to do stuff that is not just important but is also urgent. This is why we stretch the timeline to the last second until it becomes a do-or-die situation for us.
You only start working out and eating the right kind of food when your health is in a grave situation and needs immediate help. You only start investing/saving when you feel you are on the cusp of bankruptcy. You only start reading my blog when you feel that life has been getting the better of you lately.
If we could give the same level of importance to the important stuff as we give to the urgent stuff, then boy, that will be something worth watching.
#6 You failed once
If you try something and fail it, you become apprehensive about repeating the same thing over again. Some people use this apprehension as a shield or I should say ‘ as an excuse’ to keep themselves from doing it again.
They tried gymming for a week or a month, they didn’t see any results so they don’t try again thinking that it just doesn’t work. They tried running a business that went bankrupt in just 6 months and they never dared to run another business ever again because they are using that failure as an excuse.
Why you shouldn’t make excuses?
#1 It becomes a habit
The nastiest thing about making excuses is that, once you start making excuses it becomes a habit.
If today you make an excuse to skip the gym because you are feeling lazy, you’d be much more likely to make it a habit and skip the gym all the more often.
Not just that, but once you ingrain this habit of making an excuse for one thing in one particular aspect of your life, you will start giving excuses in the other aspects of your life too.
Let’s say today you make an excuse for not working overnight because you don’t ‘feel like it’. Once your mind sees that you are readily available to call it quits without trying hard, it will reinforce its primary clause—the fact that it wants no pain—more heavily on you in different aspects of your life.
#2 Excuses don’t win championships
Harvey Specter knew exactly what he was talking about. You can either make excuses in life or win. You can’t have it both ways.
The fact that so many people don’t understand this blows my mind. They want to win in everything they are involved in but also don’t want to take the pain that comes with it.
You have to tell your mind to shut the hell up and bear the pain irrespective of how messy and brutal things get because that’s what it takes to do something substantial.
It requires you to go that extra mile, to say no to excuses, to say no to weakness, to say no to distractions, provided that you truly want to make it happen.
#3 Excuses make you weaker
Every time you make an excuse telling yourself that you can’t do it because you are a girl/boy, you are afraid of what society will say, you have had enough, or whatever reasons you can think of under the Sun, you are subconsciously reinstating the fact that you are weak, that you don’t have what it takes, that you are not cut out for it, that you are mediocre, that you will always be where you are right now.
And nothing is farther from the truth.
There are so many people who were in much much worse situations than you are in, but still, they made it out. Wanna know their secret sauce?
They are not superhumans but they do have this superpower to shut their mind whenever they find that their mind is bullshitting to them. Don’t fool yourself into believing that they are smarter, sharper, or possess some mystical powers that you are totally oblivious of.
Those are all just excuses that you tell yourself to make yourself feel better.
#4 Excuses give you permanent pain
Here’s a fun fact about excuses.
Giving excuses might give you temporary pleasure but will end up giving you permanent pain.
5-10 years from now, when you look back at what you were doing, what do you think is gonna give you more happiness?
The fact that you were making excuses all along and gave up at the slightest hint of failure or the fact that you were relentless with your approach and did whatever it took to do what you always wanted to do?
Of course the latter.
You don’t wanna regret later in life the opportunities you let go of and the circumstances you didn’t make the best use of. And this hurts even more when you know it in your heart that you could have done a whole lot better if only you didn’t let excuses get the better of you.
So, before you go about making another set of excuses, just keep in mind that your future self is looking at you and banging his head seeing your stupidness and naivety. DO yourself a favor and stop making excuses already.
How to stop making excuses?
#1 Go get it
Your mindset is the single best tool at your disposal that can either make you or break you. Use it wisely, and you shall thrive. Abuse it, and you shall be abused.
There’s this one line in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness where Will Smith tells his son, “You want something? Go get it, period”, and it is really an eye-opener for so many.
Life is really that simple. You want something? Just go get it, period. How does it matter if it’s hard? How does it matter if it’s getting painful? How does it matter if you are too naive and inexperienced to do it? How does it matter if you have failed a million times already? How does it matter if people are gonna make fun of you?
If you actually want it, you will figure out a way. Simply playing down your excuses and not overhyping them in your mind will instantly give you all the power to bury them down in the ground. You have to understand that excuses don’t exist in reality.
There is no super ripped and jacked bodybuilder who’s trying to stop you from doing anything. It’s only a figment of your own imagination, excuses. Ain’t that a shame if you let something that isn’t even real stop you from doing something real?
Adopting this mindset can work wonders.
#2 Create an Emergency
As you have read above, I mentioned in #5 that one of the reasons we make so many excuses in life is because of the fact that we don’t think it’s an emergency and we put it off.
So, how about we turn this excuse to our benefit? How about we transform a situation and make it look like an emergency to our pretty little minds? If we could somehow convince ourselves, which we easily can, that the issue is pertinent and if not taken care of immediately can cause some irreparable damages, then it surely can solve some really big problems in our lives.
Tell yourself that if you don’t exercise regularly and eat healthily, your health is gonna be in ruins and you will live a pathetic life.
Tell yourself that if you don’t start your side hustle today itself, you will go bankrupt and nobody will come to save you.
Tell yourself that if you don’t improve your skills then your company will fire your incompetent ass and you will be unemployed and you’d have no idea how to meet your needs.
Tell yourself that if you don’t do something worthy in your life while you have the time, you are gonna live the rest of your life in a really miserable and horrendous way.
Basically, for all the good things you should be doing but aren’t, create the worst-case scenario of it in your head. Remember, since you are using fear to your advantage, it should be intimidating enough to give you some chills down your spine, or else it won’t work.
Now, I know this may look harsh to some, but hey, you are the one making excuses, remember? To be honest, I don’t particularly use this tactic. It’s more apt for those who really really want to do something but just can’t get out of the excuses trap.
So, give it a shot.
#3 Set a clear desire
So, if you feel like you don’t wanna use fear to stop making excuses, I got another thing for you. Inspiration!
That’s right. So, here, instead of imagining the worst that can happen to you if you make excuses, you are supposed to think about the best that can happen and emphasize the fact that you are gonna miss it all if you don’t stop making excuses soon enough.
This is the path that most of the successful and influential people of the past and the present use to stay super focussed towards their goal and avoid any kind of distractions. They all have a very clear vision for how they wanna see their lives, and that vision drives them to take the crazy and consistent steps in life.
And once they truly understand the importance of their visions, that’s when they overcome the hurdle of making excuses all the damn time.
They are not superhumans from Mars who are built differently than you. They have simply figured out something you haven’t and are doing something you aren’t. And I am here to pinpoint exactly what that is.
Elon Musk is driven by his purpose of making our species interplanetary, Mother Teresa was driven by her vision of helping the needy, Martin Luther King Jr was driven by his purpose of advocating equality, Steve Jobs was driven by his desire of changing the world for good. You got the point right?
Similarly, you also need to figure out what it is that’s more important for you than your life, and the second you deeply understand the relevance of it, you’d have won your war of making excuses for good. Because let me give it to you straight, excuses are for losers who don’t have anything much going on in their life.
#4 Self Respect and excuse are mutually exclusive
If you think about it, those who make excuses in life, won’t get everything they desire and would in turn live a life where they’d always be dependent on somebody else to meet their needs in life.
And what kind of life will that be? Not a particularly awesome one. He might somehow just survive through the journey of life, but he will never really be able to respect himself in his own eyes.
Trust me, you always know what you are up to, and you might pretend to showcase the world a false facade, you’d never be able to lie to yourself. Deep down you’d always know your true identity.
So, the question is, do you respect yourself enough to take charge of your own life and become independent and consequently an asset to the people around you? Does the inspiration you get from making a name for yourself exceed the power of the spell ‘excuses’ have cast onto you?
Food for thought.
#5 An effective analogy
You won’t eat food until you are hungry, you won’t drink water until you are thirsty. Surely you might devour both of them if they are readily available to you, but let’s be realistic, they aren’t.
So, now, what people essentially want is to find that secret sauce where they can get this abundant supply of never-ending water when they are not even thirsty in the first place. That’s a really naive way of looking at things.
If you aren’t thirsty in the first place, you’d naturally get settled with what you currently have and would make excuses to not try anymore. But the whole shitstorm begins when you want to get more and more water without actually feeling thirsty.
And that’s where the sad reality lies. The majority are gonna live like this only, to want something without actually wanting it and then getting irritated and miserable when they don’t get it. This will naturally pursue a blame game to shift the locus of the center from themselves to society, parents, friends, relatives, or even worse, God or universe or destiny.
#6 Create a dissatisfaction
This might seem counterintuitive but hear me out.
If you are already satisfied and content with where you are currently at, then there is no real reason for you to do something and take any unnecessary discomfort.
And that’s precisely what’s happening. People don’t take action because they have somehow accepted their current reality and have become accustomed to it.
Well, guess what? You have to say no to your current reality, you have to reject the status quo, you have to tell yourself that “No, this is not where I want to be” to take that next step in life.
Every great leader or innovator or successful person or anyone who did anything substantial in life started with this phase itself. A ‘dissatisfaction’ with the current world they are living in. That became the solid foundation on which they built their empires.
Nothing great was ever established from a place of comfort and laziness and excuses. So, you have to put yourself in that condition to get something meaningful going on with your lives.
To put it simply, if you are dissatisfied, your creative juices will start flowing to figure out a way. If you are satisfied, you are bound to make excuses. The bigger the dissatisfaction, the more energetically you’d be rushing towards mending the bend.
And the even more intriguing part is that you can’t really be satisfied. You’d just pretend to look satisfied from the outside while from the inside you’d be an empty shell of a person.
A person who is thirsty can never really be at ease. He can show all he wants, but at the end of the day, he won’t be able to hide it out for long. Similarly, if you also have some unfulfilled desires and needs, and instead of working your ass off to achieve them, you are pretending as if you already have everything you need, you are just lying to yourself.
When is it ok to make excuses?
Having pissed all over your excuse-making habit, let me give you a ray of hope in the last section of this article which talks about when it is okayish to make excuses.
At the end of the day, we are all humans. We are flawed and perfectly imperfect which is fine. So, one shouldn’t set some unrealistic expectations from oneself. It’s not gonna be like you will never make an excuse in your entire life, but what’s plausible is to make better excuses.
Here are some scenarios where I feel it’s fine to make excuses.
– When you tried your absolute best and need a break.
– When you are burned out and want a change.
– When you achieved what you sought to do(celebration is important).
– When you are unwell. Health first, always.
– In case of a legit emergency. (Don’t be stupid)
Those are some of the situations where I personally feel that making excuses is fine. It may not match with your life scenarios which is perfectly normal. Define your own set of rules where you think it’d be rational to give excuses.
Finally, I’d say that you need to be self-aware about who you are and what you want. You have to figure out for yourself why you make excuses, what kind of harm is it causing you, how to overcome them, and when is it ok to make an excuse.
Though one thing to keep in mind is that, don’t go over that guilt trip thingy. That will cause more harm than good. Whatever happened happened, start fresh, start new, and start NOW.
If you want it bad enough, you will figure out a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse.