You can have only one — either Results or Excuses!
- Couldn’t stick to my diet plan because the red velvet cake was simply delicious!
- Did not write that blog because I binge-watched Suits on Netflix!
- Avoided Gym today as it was raining in the morning!
- Was late to work because the traffic was too much!
Excuses are the bane to achieving anything of substance. We all hear excuses all day — be it the client who didn’t implement a game-changing process, a son who didn’t clean up his room, a colleague who didn’t do the adequate level of research required to crack a deal or my own inner voice justifying why writing that blog today was simply not possible!
I wonder, when did excuses start being a replacement for the work done? Why isn’t the drop in trust that accompanies excuses serious enough to prevent excuses in the first place?
Excuses aren’t going to automatically get me a new customer or leave a room all sparkling and clean. In fact, excuses aren’t going to help at all, especially to the one at the receiving end!
To prove this point, take a look at the state of things before and after an excuse — see anything changed for the better? Probably not!
It might give a temporary boost to the person using it as it provides a ‘temporary respite’ to the task at hand — but doesn’t it make things worse?
How is anyone then better off with using an excuse rather than doing the real work?
It is the easiest thing in the world to provide an excuse, but to own up, and instead work on getting stuff done — that is real courage.
You might argue — a lot of things aren’t under my control, so how can I not have excuses when people have not pulled their weight?
- How would you like a chief surgeon to say these words for a failed operation and shift the blame to his team?
- Would you like a prime minister of a country to shift the blame to his opposition and his cabinet for not delivering on the manifesto?
- What if your mother gave you a laundry list of excuses on why there isn’t any food on the table today!
You get the message. This is all about being responsible and self-disciplined. If you have taken responsibility, then excuses fly out of the window because they simply do not exist for an achiever. Despite your best efforts, if things do not work out as planned — that’s still ok. You have lessons learnt and a chance to do it better.
But if the problem is with taking the path of least resistance — be prepared to lose the trust someone has deposed in you!
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. ― Benjamin Franklin
Providing excuses is like giving up even before you start. Don’t look for excuses, instead look for the numerous ways in which it can be done.
There are some fantastic people out there who make any excuses that we could come up with look like silly excuses from a kid.
Of Excuses and Termites
I think Excuses do to us what Termites do to the woodwork — weaken and rot the wood from inside out.Every single excuse, decreases your will power by a few points. And every excuse avoided, boosts it up. Think of it as a video game wherein every every hit from the villain causes us to lose our power and every boost, increases our health!
I have been trying very hard to fight the excuses. I entered into a competition with my wife to beat this. Every 10 excuses now make you treat the other person for a dinner at a place of their choice (the alternative is to do the cooking on a sunday!). Both choices arent’ too bad, but would be much better if they are earned and done as a celebration. This seems to be working so far!
My 3 guiding Principles for beating excuses:
- Just Show Up: This is the statement that i use to propel myself to attending meetings, visiting people and participating in talks/presentations. Showing up, i have realised, is half the work done. You will never perform as bad as you think you would.
2. Just Do It: This is for the Chores. Tidying up, Shopping, Documentation and Filing, those work items where you realy have to do it for the sake of doing it. One mantra that has helped immensely is the ‘2-minute rule’. Just put in 2 minutes of focus into a task and just start with it. You will make significant progress such that you will either finish it (simple tasks!) or make significant progress to make a difference and you will continue till it is done!
3. Just one (a Set/Article/Poem/…) more: This is for the creative and self-improvement part. At the Gym, i push myself for ‘one more set/rep’, at office it would be one more slide or concept note, at home it would be one more piece of creative writing.Whatever helps – any Inspiration is fine!
For example, at my Gym (Gold’s) , they have this picture of a random guy:
I have no clue of who he is, neither do the folks at the gym. All i know is this,
— this is the kind of build that i would like to have, as a long distance runner
— in 6 months ending on my Birthday
— at 65 Kgs (Be specific and time bound in your goals!).
I look at him everyday when i enter the Gym and he graced my Phone’s Homescreen in the early days as well! You need constant reminding of your goals!
I also use the Pomodoro Technique a lot — Just decide on a task, set the Timer for 20/25 minutes (i use 22:22 — looks and feels good!) and just start. Even if it means staring at the task for 5 minutes. I guarantee that you will continue with multiple Pomodoros until you complete at least 80% of the task!
I am now reading the book — Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Ownership is key — both of factors that are within control and those that could be influenced. There is no room for excuses when every decision or mistake could cost you your life!
Here are some quotes from this book that have stood out on Excuses:
“On any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win.”
— — —
…when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed, or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win — you pass the test. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions. But if you exercise discipline, that too translates to more substantial elements of your life.”
— — —
“They see Extreme Ownership in their leaders, and, as a result, they emulate Extreme Ownership throughout the chain of command down to the most junior personnel. As a group they try to figure out how to fix their problems — instead of trying to figure out who or what to blame.”
— — —
“Implementing Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility. Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team.”
Excerpts From: Jocko Willink. “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win”.
There are also people who inspire with the sheer strength of their will. Consider this case:
- are in ill health
- cannot afford the right running gear
- haven’t registered for an event
- have never run marathons in your life before!
- are 65+ years old!
This would actually put most of us out of the decision to take part.
Our hero — Lata Khare, however, ran in a competition to win so that she could buy her husband much needed medicines with the prize money. She didn’t resort to excuses, rather had just the goal in mind — to save her husband and get him the medicines needed.
Here’s more on this lady who defied the odds to participate, run and win the cash prize for treating her husband.
This 67-Year-Old Grandmother Runs Marathons Barefoot, Wearing A SariPicture a marathon runner: a woman or a man in running shoes, running shorts or track pants, sweat absorbing vests…www.huffingtonpost.in
True Inspiring story of an elderly woman who ran the marathon barefoot and won! – Relax.LifeShare this on WhatsAppLata Bhagwan Khare, a 65 year old resident of a small village in Maharashtra, India lived a life…relax.life
What is your North Star that you would like to keep in sight?
- Excuses or Results — You can have only one!
- Excuses = Termites
- Just Show Up | Just Do It | Just One More
- Extreme Ownership
- Don’t lose sight of your North Star