Making excuses is the best way to restrict or prevent success. Excuses provide a way to justify failure without feeling guilty. Making excuses absolves you from taking responsibility for your situation. After all, how can you be held accountable for something that is beyond your control?
Anything can serve as an excuse. Bad experiences from the past are one of the favorites. The reasoning is that because something didn't go well previously, there's no point in pursuing it further. The often heard remark is, "I already tried that and it didn't work."
Taking this approach allows your past to pollute your future. Instead of being used as stepping stones, mistakes become anchors. Just because something didn't work or you had a bad experience doesn't mean it can't work.
Success rarely occurs on the first attempt. Successful people learn from their mistakes and keep moving forward. They make changes and keep at it. They never use mistakes as an excuse to give up.
Your past has two things to teach you; what didn’t work and what did. Repeat those strategies that have proven effective and avoid those that haven’t. When something doesn’t work as anticipated, make adjustments and move forward.
“I don’t know how,” is another often used excuse. Lack of knowledge can be easily rectified. Remember that when you were born, you didn’t know anything. You have already proven that ignorance is not a permanent condition. You can either acquire the information you need or find someone who has the appropriate expertise. Go out and locate the resources that will enable you to move forward.
When you say, “I can’t do it,” you are right. This excuse inhibits accomplishment. Your brain believes this statement and guides you accordingly. Something may be difficult, a problem, or challenging. There may be a lot of time and effort required. You may feel frustrated or discouraged. As soon as you use, “I can’t do it,” as an excuse you will not do it.
You can do anything you set your mind to. “I can do this,” is where you start. Add desire and determination in order to generate a powerful driving force. “I can” vs. “I can’t” is the difference between success and failure.
“It won’t work” is a variation of “I can’t do it” that places the blame externally. This is a powerful, yet erroneous, declaration that puts the brakes on your aspirations. You can either say this to yourself or hear it from someone else. While there are people who abandon their plans because “it won’t work,” there are always others proving them wrong by accomplishing the very things they have given up on.
“People will criticize me,” may be an uncomfortable thought but it is never an excuse to abandon your goals. It doesn’t matter what others think. They don’t live your life and you don’t live theirs. Every successful person has ignored their critics as they accomplished one goal after another. Worrying about what other people think gives them control of your life. It doesn’t matter what other people say, think or do. All that is important are your goals and what you need to do to reach them.
“I don’t have time,” is just another false premise. You find the time or make the time for those things which are important to you. Regardless of your current situation, there are areas where you are wasting your time on inconsequential activities. Set your priorities so that working toward your goals takes precedence over all else.
Failures make excuses while successful people have reasons to succeed. You are responsible for your life’s direction. Stop making excuses and start doing.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at
or write him c/o this paper. 2013 Bryan Golden