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The Difference Between Winners and Losers in Life

Excuses hold many people with talent and great opportunities back, while others with fewer gifts and the deck stacked against them, move forward and succeed.

What is that secret sauce that creates a winner? Why do some incredibly talented people fail to launch, while some more average people become huge successes?

Let’s face it, some people are winning in life and some people are losing. Winning or losing in life is not determined by inherent talent or an alignment of circumstances. What often separates the winners from the losers? Excuses.

While excuses hold many people with talent and great opportunities back, others with fewer gifts and the deck stacked against them, move forward and succeed. Success or failure has less to do with talent and circumstances than an individual’s refusal to make or accept excuses for himself.

Who Does and Does Not Make Excuses?

We all have excuses ready and waiting.

● The children of divorce and the children of successful marriages.

● The children from the “wrong side” of town and the children from the “right side” of town.

● The 5’9” boy on the basketball court and the 6’9” boy on the basketball court.

● The sales person in a contracting marketplace and the sales person in the growing marketplace.

Excuses are inside all of us, waiting to get out – if we let them out.

Most of us can think of someone who won and someone who lost in each of these situations no matter their advantages or disadvantages.

The Winners and The Losers

● I know children of horrific divorces that have great marriages and a joyful life. I also know children of happy homes who are miserable, have multiple marriages, and refuse to be accountable for their lives.

● We can watch the news and find a rags to riches story about a homeless young man with drug addicted parents making it through Harvard. Then, the next day hear of a local country club kid blaming his parents for him dropping out of college.

● We see a story on ESPN in the morning about a 5’ 9” overachiever who plays Division 1 basketball. While that night, we watch the sad story of a 6’ 9” basketball prodigy going to jail.

● I once led a saleswoman who grew her business 15% in a marketplace that contracted 10%. And, I led another salesman who had an expanding market, but blamed increased competition for his lack of growth.

The Bottom Line:

Somewhere deep inside, we all have excuses ready to go. They are our safety net in case we fail. It does not matter where we come from or what gifts God has granted us, we can always find an excuse for losing.

The winners in life I described above are winners because they refused to make excuses. They owned their limitations and advantages and decided growth was their responsibility.

Excuses are used to deflect the blame away from ourselves, and therefore absolve us from any responsibility to learn from our failures. When we eliminate excuses, we gain an edge over the rest of the world. Without excuses, we are forced to look at ourselves critically, to adapt and to get better.

When we ignore excuses, we eliminate the option of quitting. We go beyond Plan A and B. Without excuses, suddenly we are thinking of Plans C, D, E, F…. That is often the difference between winning and losing.

Some folks have more obstacles set in front of them than others yet they win. Some folks have fewer obstacles and they lose. What causes one to win and the other to lose? Excuses.


What excuse do you hear from others the most often? From yourself?

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