This blog is not for the easily offended. In it, I hold no punches. So if you’re up for some serious self-reflection and improvement, take a deep breath and dive into our discussion on excuses and those who give them.
“Oh sorry, I was late because – ”
“I didn’t practice because – ”
“I haven’t yet finished because – ”
“I wasn’t there because – ”
“I didn’t study because – “
There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who achieve success and those who give excuses. Excuses don’t make money, progress or anything else in fact.
Excuses are tools of the incompetent
used to build monuments to nothing.
Those who specialize in them
will never be good at anything else.
The sad part is that those who give excuses think they are on the road to progress. They simply don’t understand why things haven’t been working for them over the years.
They usually do not see what so many around them painfully cannot ignore, their habit of giving excuses. There is always a reason for their inability to make decisions or follow through on commitments.
Excuse givers are so stuck in their habit that over the years, I (and probably others) can notice them, predict the areas and ways they will always disappoint and see it happen. It is like clockwork. It is almost impossible to help or correct an excuse giver because guess what? They will give you an excuse for whatever flaws you show them.
So I decided to write this blog to give you an opportunity to take a quiz. A character examination if you will, and figure out if you are an excuse giver yourself.
This quiz will help you determine whether you have been passing up opportunities and great personal advancement because of this huge but hidden flaw in your own character. But before you take the quiz, let’s look at some symptoms of excuse givers.
Symptoms of “Excuse Givers”
Excuse givers blame everyone and everything else for their lack of progress. They are never wrong, but always correct. They wonder why people cannot just see things from their perspective every time. If they did not follow through on a commitment, it is never their fault. Their dog ate their homework. Their mother did not raise them in the best way. Their father left them when they were young.
Here’s a story my father once shared of two men who were raised by an alcoholic and abusive father. One of the men became a greatly successful career man with a strong family. He loved his wife dearly, and took amazing care of his children.
His brother, became an alcoholic and even more abusive than his father. He mistreated everyone around him and could never seem to get anywhere in life.
One day someone asked this man why he is so destructive to himself and others around him. His response was, “My upbringing. I had a father who abused me, my brother and mother. He was an alcoholic and unprincipled man who did not teach me what it looks like to be a loving father or achieve anything in life. I am who I am because of my father.”
That person also seeing how successful his brother was, went and asked him. How have you been able to achieve so much in the short time you have lived? How do you have a heart to take such care of your family and balance that with such a high level of achievement in your workplace?
His response was, “My upbringing. I had a father who abused me, my brother and mother. He was an alcoholic and unprincipled man who did not teach me what it looks like to be a loving father or achieve anything in life. So I determined to be a better father to my children and husband to my wife. I determine to love them like Christ and give them what I never had. I am who I am because of my father.”
Same upbringing. Different outcome.
You can use the exact same situation as a crutch for your inability to move forward or develop yourself, or you can use it as a stepping stone. Past hurts can become fuel in your heart to forgive, do better and live your fullest life. Sometimes you do have to take time to recover and heal but too many people choose to spend all, and I mean the entirety of their lives, recovering from the mistakes of the past.
Some people love to be a victim. They embrace it as their identity and do not strive for healing forgiveness and progress. They give excuses constantly of who and what circumstances have restricted them and focus only on those instead of their personal responsibility to rule their decisions, emotions and life.
Lack personal responsibility
Have you ever tried to correct someone who lacks personal responsibility? It can be one of the most frustrating conversations you have. Nothing sticks to them. They may “hear” where they are wrong, but they never accept it. They are always right and the misdoing is deflected to another person or circumstance leaving them free to continue to self-destruct instead of admitting their fault and seeking restoration.
Trying to make good of their words, they give the excuse and expect it to be dropped and left there. Unresolved. So they give excuses like –
“I was late because of my ride or traffic”
“I can’t get out of debt because I don’t have enough money”
“I didn’t study for my exam because I fell sick this week”
“I can’t start a bible study at my workplace or school because I am not ordained”
“I can’t improve myself or find my calling because I don’t have time”
“I can’t share the gospel because I am not an evangelist”
“I don’t pray for healing for people because I haven’t been given the gift of healing”
“I don’t pay tithe because I don’t earn enough”
Lack of improvement
Another way you can determine if you are an excuse giver is if you have not improved on specific issues over the last couple of years. You may have had different people raise up the same topic of correction to you repeatedly, or your workplace, or teachers continue to tell you the same thing.
Generally, you want to examine yourself whenever corrected once, but if you get corrected about the same thing from two or more different people, you need to admit that they may be seeing something inside of you that you simply are not seeing but is there. Then you need to fight to change it.
Stuck in mediocrity
This lack of improvement almost always results in being “stuck” and feeling like they are not doing anything with their lives. They never seem to “get ahead”. They get passed up for opportunities and even when they receive opportunities, things never seem to work out.
They get jobs and lose them – consistently. They get accepted into programs but it just never seems to work. They have a huge list of unfinished projects, and unresolved issues. Which leads to the saddest part of the life of an excuse giver.
They die with regret
This is the saddest part of being an excuse giver. They die with regrets. Not of what they did, but what they didn’t do. Dreams they never fulfilled. Friendships they lost.
They die blaming others for the final product of their lives and waste this short period of time they had, the same time everyone else had not doing anything to impact their generation and make history.
Alright, it’s time for some soul searching. Remember to be totally honest with yourself. Take the quiz below, share your results (if you dare). There’s much more to the story so I’ll see you at the end of the blog *exits the room to give you some privacy*
Take the quiz!
When you're running late you-
How did you do? Did you find your Achilles heel, breath a sign of relief or get charged up to keep making history? Here’s the truth –
Life is hard. For everyone.
If you think that those who are achieving success have it easier or better than you, you are greatly deceived. It is easy to see the moments of glory in another person’s life, but you need to know they had to fight through something to get there. NO ONE HAS A PERFECT LIFE!
I grew up in great circumstances, the daughter of a loving father, a pastor, and a hardworking and caring mother. Yet I ended up in a 4 year long destructive relationship, with 2 abortions and $23,000 debt to show for it.
During that season of my life, I failed 5 out of 7 University courses in one year though I had entered University at 16 with a grade average of 92% and had never before then failed one course all my life. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.
I hit rock bottom but that was the exact season and set of circumstances God used to show me His ridiculous love through His son Jesus Christ, save me and give me a passion that drives me every day. Someone may see me today- married to the best husband on the planet, thriving in ministry and career, 4 albums under my belt, countless awards and accomplishments, and say – she doesn’t know what struggle is.
And true, your situation may be different and much more difficult than mine. But I refused to remain a victim. I forgave my ex, forgave myself, became debt free, got my Bachelor of Science and am so much more since then.
And I’m not the only one,
Joyce Meyer was abused mentally, verbally, emotionally, sexually from when she could remember until she was 18 years old. She was raped by her father over 200 times. Yet she overcame that experience and commenced a television ministry that has today become one of the largest Christian ministries of the world.
Its programme ‘Enjoying Everyday Life’ is viewed by more than 4.5 billion viewers and is broadcast in 40 languages on 900 TV and radio stations.
Oprah Winfrey was born to an unmarried teenage mother, raised in abject poverty, received her first pair of shoes at the age of 6 and learned to read at age 2½.
She was repeatedly molested by her cousin, uncle and a family friend, eventually ran away from home and unrelated to these, gave birth to a baby boy when she was 14. The baby died after 2 weeks, from complications of being born 2 months premature.
Yet despite all this, she has since become the most successful woman on TV, with a net worth of $2.9 billion and described by Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century”.
Albert Einstein didn’t speak for the first three years of his life, and throughout elementary school, many of his teachers thought he was lazy and wouldn’t make anything of himself.
He went on to contribute significantly in the development of our world. His four Annus Mirabilis (‘miracle year’) papers, released in 1905, laid the foundation of modern physics and changed the way we think about space, time, mass, and energy forever.
When Jim Carrey was 15, he had to drop out of school to support his family. His father was an unemployed musician and at a point the entire family lived in a van. But he didn’t let this stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a comedian.
He went from working 8 hours shifts after school at a factory, to performing at a local Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto, to starring in mega-blockbusters and becoming one of the best comedic actors in our time.
Enough proof that your past doesn’t have to determine where you go?
That successful people had a past to overcome themselves?
I think so.
“It doesn't matter if you come from the inner city. People who fail in life are those who find lots of excuses.” Ben CarsonClick To Tweet
Ben Carson – Medical history maker
2008 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – America’s highest civilian award.
Back to the Excuse Giver Quiz
If you have noticed that you display at least 2 of these symptoms described above or you got the “Achilles Heel” or “PHEW!” response, you have to decide immediately what you will do with this information. You can shove the conviction away and you will be very successful at that.
The busyness of life will allow you to hide it sure enough, but you may well remember this blog on your dying day, as you look back with regret. Or you can choose to change.
If you want change, here is the one way you can stop being an excuse giver.
It’s simple. Pray for God to change you. Then decide never to give another excuse. Break the habit. The next time you flop, say “I’m sorry” and leave it at that. Despite how unfair it feels not to highlight that it took place because your ride was late. Or you fell sick. Or you didn’t know. Or anything else.
Simply apologize and make it right.
Tell your friends to check you on this and keep you accountable. If your friends can’t correct you because they’re excuse givers too, change your friends. (I mean that). You are who you surround yourself with.
Then whenever next you are corrected, receive it without defending yourself. Go back to your quiet place and ask yourself if that person was right. Really examine yourself without allowing excuses even inside yourself.
When you’ve done that over and over, you will begin to see the areas where your life has been slipping through your fingers. You will become frustrated with the output you have been producing and begin the process of change. You will stop blaming others, take personal responsibility for your life, begin to improve and get yourself out of mediocrity.
You will notice that things begin to shift around you, you begin to receive more opportunities and seem to find more favour than normal.
I’ll let you in on a secret, It’s not just favour. It is reliability. You have become reliable and trustworthy. Someone others can depend on to do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. Your yes has become your yes. You have stopped being an excuse giver and become a history maker.
I could not sleep because of this blog. Though I planned on writing about a completely different topic this week, it burned in my mind for hours until I finally gave in, woke up out of bed and typed the whole thing up at an ungodly hour of the morning. I know it is for a specific person and if that person is you, I pray that you are set free from a life of mediocrity and excuses and released into becoming the best “you” there is. Doing what God has called you to, when He calls you to it. Without any regrets when you die.
Let’s Talk –
Leave a comment, let us know what stood out to you. Have you previously been an excuse giver? What are you going to change? If you already changed, how did you do it? What do you think of excuses?