Living Gently…Every Day: Making Excuses

We live in a world of violence, self-indulgence and entitled behaviors. Our daily news can be both overwhelming and depressing. But, how different could things be if we all embraced a few positive changes? What are the endless possibilities that could come about if we found ways to support, encourage and empower one another? Each month, we’ll explore a new way to embrace a way to live more gently, and hopefully, create a ripple effect in the lives around us.


Wise Words: “And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.” ~William Shakespeare


Reasons I was running late: “I couldn’t find my keys.” “I was stuck in traffic.” “The dog was sick.”

Reasons I didn’t do my homework: “My internet was down.” “I left the assignment in my locker.” “The dog ate it.”

Reasons I didn’t close that deal: “The customer was a jerk.” “The competition under-bid me.” “I hit a dog on the way to the meeting.”

Let’s make one thing clear: There’s ALWAYS an excuse. For anything. For everything. Any time we fail to meet commitments, appointments, or expectations, we can find an excuse. The dog is often a convenient one, since let’s face it… it’s not like they’re going to tattle on us!

Excuses abound and are readily available, but are we possibly addicted to them? Think about it: When is the last time someone was late for an appointment or failed to meet an expectation and you heard the words, “It was my fault; I messed up.” Probably, it’s been a while. Because we’re a society who has mastered the good excuse.

In fact, it’s a defense mechanism. We make decisions, and then, work to rationalize them or justify them in the aftermath. Why? Are we looking for reasons to explain poor choices? Or to excuse bad behavior? Rationalizing our decisions with an excuse helps alleviate our own sense of personal guilt.

But why do we need to do it? We all know humans aren’t perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone makes an occasional bad decision. Everyone does something that may annoy or irritate another. Yet, we use our excuses as a Band-Aid on a bad habit rather that addressing the root of the problem…which may be as simple as being too lazy to break a bad habit.

Chronically late? It’s an easy fix – start getting ready earlier.

Failure to meet an assignment? Create an organization system, or ask someone who is naturally good at organizing to help you.

Missed opportunities? Then take ownership. Work harder to make decisions that will yield more positive outcomes.

Despite being a society full of excuses, no one likes hearing them (even chronic excuse-makers!) Our challenge this month (myself included), is to take responsibility for our actions. If you’re late, simply say, “I failed to budget enough time.” If you screw up a big account, acknowledge it and identify the steps that could have prevented it so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

Excuses, schmexcuses. Let’s stop assigning blame and most of all, stop making excuses. Let’s collectively make the effort that for one month, we’re going to change this habit and instead, look for the opportunities to better ourselves rather than remain dependent on the excuses no one wants to hear.