In today’s Wisdom Note, we will explore why we make excuses. So many people make excuses, but they are so difficult to see in ourselves. None of us particularly like accountability, but it is required to be a wise and mature person.
It is easy to fall into the habit of making excuses when our trek of life does not turn out as we desired. On our next three Wisdom Notes, we will examine in detail the subject of excuses. So, let’s put all our excuses aside and head out on the trail. One quote from a very wise man, Benjamin Franklin, reminds us, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
Do you ever catch yourself making excuses when things don’t turn out as you had expected? Have you ever neglected taking responsibility for the events and circumstances of your life? Or have you ever tried to explain away why you didn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t, or simply wouldn’t do something? These are all subtle signs that indicate you are living a life of excuses, which prevents you from living to your full potential. And, in Jesus’s words, your full potential is a rich and satisfying life.
1. What Are Excuses?
Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about people, events, and circumstances. They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to neglect taking a particular kind of action, or to simply negate responsibility. Excuses are in essence a means of placing the blame of an internal problem on an external condition.
2. Why Do We Make Excuses?
There are many reasons why people make excuses. In fact, everyone has different reasons for making them. However, when it boils down to it, all excuses are based on FEAR. We make excuses for the following main reasons:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of embarrassment
- Fear of success
- Fear of change
- Fear of uncertainty
- Fear of responsibility
- Fear of making mistakes
- Fear of lacking confidence or resources
To eliminate excuses from our lives, we must first look at eliminating all traces of fear.
We need to reduce and as much as possible eliminate all false fear in our lives for the Apostle Paul wrote in his 2nd letter to Timothy in Chapter 1 verse 7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Fear traps and locks us away within our comfort zone, yet fear often develops as a result of a lack of:
If you lack all these things, you will naturally lack confidence, and as a result, you will fail to take the action necessary to achieve your goals and objectives.
Consequently, you will tend to make excuses about your life and circumstances in order to help boost your self-esteem. However, all you’re doing is creating the illusion of security. You’re simply masking the pain by taking a “painkiller.” The pain is still there and will continue to persist until you finally overcome your fears.
3. What Are the Consequences of Making Excuses?
Living a life of excuses can have very serious and lasting consequences. Not only will excuses prevent you from reaching your full potential, but they will also hold you back from recognizing opportunities, talents, and skills you might have to help you overcome your problems.
If you don’t challenge yourself to reach new heights, you will never really know what you’re capable of. New opportunities lie hidden around every corner; however, you will never find them if you riddle your mind with constantly finding reasons to make excuses.
Making excuses can also lead to the following consequences:
- Lack of responsibility and growth
- Self-limiting beliefs
- Massive regrets
- Persistent pessimistic outlook on life
- Bad judgments
- Imaginary walls constricting comfort zone
- Mental blocks stifling proactive action and creativity
These consequences certainly don’t lead to a rich and satisfying life. In fact, they paralyze us and prevent forward movement in all areas of our lives.
To overcome your excuses, you must first admit that you are making them. Sometimes this is difficult to do; however, it’s absolutely necessary and critical if you want to eliminate the resulting consequences.
- What excuses do I tend to make?
- What am I settling for?
Furthermore, you must identify the reasons for your excuses. Ask yourself:
- Why am I making these excuses?
Finally, list the consequences that each of these excuses has on your life and circumstances by asking:
- How do these excuses prevent me from moving forward?
- How do they cripple my ability to get what I want?
We need to learn to scale to new heights on our trek each day, especially when we are overwhelmed and find ourselves making excuses instead of taking responsibility. As we grow in wisdom and insight, we can realize that to overcome excuses, we can rely on a power that is greater than we may have within ourselves. As King David wrote in Psalms 61:1-3,
“O God, listen to my cry!
Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.”
Now that we have explored some of the core reasons we make excuses, in our next couple of notes, we will learn the type of excuses that we commonly make and discover how to eliminate excuses forever.