“It’s not my fault,” he said. “Well, it certainly isn’t mine,” she exclaimed! A leader will invariably be forced to deal with the various excuses that people make, like the two above.
From the outset, one must understand how critical it is for one to make a conscious decision to terminate a life lived under the negative, and highly unproductive regime of blame shifting, negativity, and excuse making. Listed below are two common allies in the army of excuses.
- “I can’t.” One must choose to change the focus by rephrasing the “I can’t” into a positive and profitable question: “How can I” defeat my foe? Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me.” I can is what makes a great person!
“It’s not my fault.” This must change to a positive question as well. It doesn’t matter who deserves the blame, the best use of my time and energy is to determine the root cause and seek solutions.
Isn’t it interesting how people who have a fear of failing, can conjure up countless excuses rather than admitting how frightened they are to tackle the issue or task? The words ”fear” and “frightened” were just used in the above statement. But how does fear and excuse-making work together in harmony to defeat us as we march toward our dreams?
Someone once said, F.E.A.R. stands for: Finding Excuses And Reasons. Isn’t this what happens nearly every time a problem arises? People will flee to the hills in order to escape the assault of accountability. When one’s flight has been intercepted, a new approach is often used.
The Earliest Excuses
The decision to utilize this tactic is as old as the first man and woman who lived. After yielding her will to the tempter. Eve immediately played the “blame game” by shifting her failure over to Adam. Adam in turn, decided to cast blame and accountability upon God for his moral and spiritual failure: ‘God, this is not my fault, I am not the one to blame here, it is the woman’s fault, you know, the very one whom Thou hast given to me.’
Can you believe that Adam actually blamed the creator of the universe for his failure? Such is the history of mankind. While change transpires with the speed of light, some things seldom change. The one constant has been an individual’s unwillingness to accept personal responsibility for mistakes in judgment; errors in decision-making; yielding to temptation; and becoming accountable for ”the project” which went south during our watch.
Life’s Highway of Excuses
John Maxwell recently said this about excuses: “Excuses are the Exits off of the highway to accomplishment!” If this is true, and I believe that it is, then one must accept that the wrong exit will most assuredly lead the driver on a detour headed straight into the failure zone. No one really wants to live there.
Certainly no one wakes up dreaming of spending their life in such a horrid and putrefying place. This detour is not “the destination spot” of America or the world. Once a driver veers off the highway of personal responsibility and accountability, the bypass will take those in the car far from their original course.
The tragedies are legion. One wastes and loses valuable time while on the detour. Furthermore, one may never find the road to success again. The driver of this vehicle must follow his roadmap carefully. He must identify the “excuse exits” and commit to following the predetermined course.
- It is not fault, so why should I get involved.
- I am too busy, I cannot possibly take on another responsibility.
- I cannot get anyone to help me.
- What good will it do anyway?
- I don’t have the money.
- This is just too hard.
- Why should I be the one that…..
I hope you get the idea. We can use several excuses, but how will the excuse accomplish the needed objective?
It was Benjamin Franklin who once remarked that, ”A person who is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else!” How completely prophetic this statement has proven to be in the lives of the masses.
I have taken the position that an excuse is a reason which has been stuffed with a lie. Furthermore, my personal philosophy for the last 20 years has been, “No excuses, only a careful examination of the opportunity, and then execution.”
What do you think? Have you been guilty of, or do you work with an excuse-maker? The trouble with always leaving yourself a way out through the vehicle of an excuse, is that most always take it.
Look for my next article on eliminating excuses from our lives.