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Michael-book-pic2History is full of excuses – why charges failed, or regimes fell, or famines spread. You can’t turn on the television today without some government employee making an excuse for a failed program, or a poorly executed military plan, or thousands of incriminating email’s that strangely disappeared. The concept of excuses pretty much start with us as soon as we become capable of doing something wrong – “Johnny did it, not me!” “The dog ate my homework, I swear!” They’re always good excuses, solidly built on splendid alibis, justifications, and rationalizations. But I’ve come to realize that generally, no one is impressed with how good your excuses are, and I’m reminded of a quote by Benjamin Franklin: “He who is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.”

Sometimes excuses are nothing more than an explanation of your disinterest – the gap between your interest and your commitment. And this is one of those places where they become tedious. Yesterday, you said tomorrow, and here it is today… If you really want something you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. Maybe you’re making excuses because you’re losing respect for yourself. Check your price tag, maybe you’ve marked yourself down. It’s you who determines what you’re worth, no one else.

I’ll close by lightening things up a little: While excuses are as common as watermelon seeds, there’s often a fine line between being annoying and being clever. I have a buddy who’s always got an excuse why something didn’t happen like it was supposed to, why he was late, or why he didn’t show up, but he’s a clever fellow, I’ll give him that much. He told me a story the other day, about driving home late one afternoon, and moving along well above the speed limit.   Suddenly he noticed a police car with its blue lights flashing in his rear view mirror. He thought to himself, “I can outrun this guy,” so he floors it, and the race is on.  The cars are barreling down the highway – 60, 70, 80 miles an hour. But after minute or two of this my friend realizes how stupid he’s been – he can’t outrun a cop – and he gives up.  He pulls over to the curb. The police officer gets out of his cruiser and approaches the car. He leans down and says “Listen mister, I’ve had a really long day, and I just want to go home.  Give me a good excuse for that little display and I’ll let you go.”  My buddy thought for a moment and said, “Three weeks ago, my wife ran off with a police officer.  When I saw your cruiser in my rear view mirror, I thought you were that officer and you were trying to give her back!”

While excuses are generally useless, there is, occasionally that priceless result.

Live with no excuses, love with no regrets…

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