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How Your Excuses Damage Your Growth, Career, and Reputation

Adopt the mindset of an 18 year old West Point cadet.

I dare you – in fact, I double dog dare you - to count the number of excuses you make this week. If you pay attention, I think you will be shocked.

When things get difficult, too many people quit too soon because they are too quick to embrace their own excuses. Without an excuse, the effort put into explaining a failure becomes time and effort used to solve the problem. Without excuses, people see obstacles as movable, solvable, and avoidable.

At West Point, excuses were forbidden. I was 18 years old and had a hard time with that concept. But what I learned was that when I eliminated excuses from my vocabulary, I no longer had a safety net if things didn’t work out. When I realized I couldn’t fall back on my safety net, I began to plan better. I began to evaluate what could go wrong and plan for those situations. When something did go wrong, I went immediately to problem solving and forgot about blame shifting. That caused me to face an obstacle, see failure as a short term set back, and keep pushing forward. If excuses were possible, I would probably have quit before a solution was found.

Excuses are a problem for many people that limit their growth, damage their careers, and hurt their reputation.

Excuses affect Growth: Excuses usually shift blame to circumstances or to other people. When we do that, we are basically saying that we couldn’t have controlled what happened. We have no responsibility and therefore we have nothing to learn. Excuses cause us to stop short of looking for what we could have done better and learning from those lessons.