Have you ever made excuse for yourself?
Have you ever told someone some made up excuse about why you aren’t where you want to be?
Have you ever told yourself that?
I have. Way too often.
In fact, it has become such a habit, that I began doing the same on someone else too.
During my time as a university student, whenever I didn’t do well in my assignment or my exam, I told my friends, and myself, “Oh, I was busy working” or “I wasn’t feeling well while preparing”.
When I was looking for a job after I graduated, I made excuses about my rejections like thus, “The interviewer was too harsh with the questions.” or “They were unfair with their selection.”
When I got retrenched from my job, I told myself, “I did my best, it can’t be helped anyway.”, or “Just my luck, they could’ve picked anyone.”
Upon self-reflection, I realised that the excuses I made up for myself were really my attempt at protecting my own ego. I didn’t take responsibility over my decisions and my actions. I wasn’t ready to grow up.
Although none of the excuses were lies, they were not telling the whole truth. Although I was working, I wasn’t properly doing time management. Although I have been sending my CVs and cover letter frantically, I wasn’t trying hard enough. I didn’t send enough CVs and I didn’t even try to make my CV look better or more presentable.
Although I did try my best at work, I was easily distracted at work and was more interested to hang out with my colleagues and / or friends after work. I spent more time emailing each other than I do focusing on getting things done. In fact, I guess I could say by now that if I were my boss, I’d fire myself first.
What’s wrong with me?
I clearly wasn’t maturing and wasn’t prepared to admit that I screwed up and needed to take responsibility over myself. I was blaming the situation and people around me when clearly, there is some serious attitude changes that I need to make and serious adjustments to how I approach my work.
Like I said earlier, when I get used to making excuse for myself, I began making excuse for others. Instead of encouraging others by uplifting them and offering my belief in their potential, I would try to find reasons why they failed. I didn’t tell them how good they are nor about how much potential they have and what they could accomplish.
These is bad on so many levels. Firstly, I am of course not helping anyone in my immediate circles. Secondly, I become a bad influence on their attitude and mindset which is something I do not want to be part of my legacy.
Why is this unhealthy?
The more I tried to make those excuses, it went from bad to worse. I started telling myself that I am not good enough. At times, I even cursed my own past, thinking of many regrets. I blamed circumstances. As someone who have been studying personal development and leadership, I knew that it was unhealthy to continue entertaining such thoughts. Alas I just could not shake it away.
Making excuses is one of those bad habits. You know that it is damaging to your own skin, but you can’t help but keep scratching. Making excuses is damaging to your character and relationship but it feels really good on your ego the more you do it. Conversely, though, a good habit, although may take time and effort to develop, can be very beneficial once you make it something you do naturally.
What has changed?
Thankfully, I was blessed with some free time and I was able to concentrate my thoughts into a more positive activities. Although unemployed, I decided to make the most of my time in order to change my thought process and began setting my mind on the positive future rather than dwelling in the past that I cannot change.
How do we get out of this never-ending life-sucking twister?
- I decided to take a break and take a rest.
Often, this cycle of making excuses and running away from responsibility is like dropping into a quicksand. The more we struggle and the harder we work at getting out of it, the deeper we became drenched in it.Instead of struggling harder, we need to give ourselves some rest to collect our thoughts and avoid any further stress-inducing problems we might encounter when we get too busy.
- I fed myself and my mind with helpful thoughts.
Remember the cassette tape that was made popular by Sony back in the 90’s with their Walkman? Or the VHS which was so popular in the late 90’s?I might have lost some of you who grew up with CDs and iPods, but please keep reading. There’s a fundamental truth we can learn here.When I was young, both myself and my brother bought so many empty tapes to record only our favorite songs into the tapes so we can easily exclude ones we don’t like. Kinda like making our own “Top 20 Songs I Love” into a tape. Now, since we aren’t professional tape makers, we would often find that our recording was crap. which meant that we had to redo the recording.A question for the readers familiar with the tapes, how do you erase a bad recording?Well, you actually don’t. All you have to do is to overwrite the previous content with the new recording. And it’s easy to do it over and over again until you’ve arrived to an acceptable quality.
How is this relevant for me, you ask? Our brain pretty much behaves very similarly to how a cassette tape does. We can’t really “erase” those negatives thoughts we kept having. We can, however, overwrite those thoughts with good, healthy, positive, and life-giving thoughts. If you keep your mind focused on such thoughts, the negative thoughts will, and can eventually lost its grip on you.
- I begin to see myself differently.
The basic principle in any form of effective marketing or selling is that you have to believe in what you are selling. You have to believe in the product. You need to be so convinced that the product or service you are offering will definitely change someone’s life, that other people can’t help but to believe in you.So basically, unless I believe in myself, I will not be able to face the incoming onslaught of problems and challenges daily. Instead of being crippled by looking at my limitations, I learn to be grateful for the strengths and potentials in other areas I do have.This also means that instead on focusing on what I lack and waste time dwelling on my weakness, I can channel all my energy, thoughts and efforts on what I do well and improve on it so much so that others may even overlook the weaknesses.
- I learn to look at problems differently.
By not looking at problems as something that showed me my weakness, or my inability to tackle it, I began to look at it as an opportunity to showcase my strength and my weakness.For example, when I said earlier that I could’ve spend some time improving my CV to better highlight my achievements and my competencies, I blamed myself and my inability to get something done. Now, I realise that my CV is still incomplete, and I still have many things I could write to display my potential.
Ultimately, changing your mindset and your thoughts on your failures and mistakes can be really liberating and a very potent catalyst for your personal and professional growth.
Admitting your own fault and owning up to your failures can contribute a lot towards boosting your confidence and courage to face your own mistakes in the future. Armed with the proper confidence and courage, your relationship with people around you will also see significant improvements.
Tell Me About Yourself
I hope that this has been a fun and inspiring read for you. Can you please share with me in the comments about the time in the past that you have made excuses for yourself? How did you fix the habit? Are there other way that you have used to avoid making such lame excuses? Looking forward to reading your stories.