Maturity Means No Excuses

In the law, the state doesn’t hold minors responsible for some of their actions.  If a bank agrees to give a 16 year old a credit card, that 16 year old isn’t liable for his debts because the law assumes he doesn’t have the ability to appreciate his own actions.  The law excuses him from taking responsibility.

Some people carry this idea that they can be excused from responsibility into adulthood.  They make excuses for everything.  They make excuses for why they’ll fail before they even start.  “Well, I’ll do this project, but I’ve got this thing going on too, so no guarantees.”  It’s pathetic, but it’s ingrained in most of us.

The core of excuse making is an attempt to preserve ego.  People fear that if they fail, they won’t be loved or trusted or respected.  So they invent reasons why the failure wasn’t their fault.

The irony is twofold:

(1) the feverish attempt to deflect responsibility by spreading the failure around like unwanted peas on a dinner plate prevents you from actually learning from the failure.  You’re so busy keeping your head down, avoiding suspicion, that there’s no time or opportunity to investigate why you failed.  Major opportunity, lost.

(2) Making excuses is precisely what causes others to lose love, trust, or respect for people.  Everybody fails: it’s ubiquitous.  Nobody likes to fail, but it’s just part of the game.  Making excuses doesn’t have to be.  When you make excuses, you’re ensuring the outcome you don’t want (losing face, respect, trust, and love), will be exactly the one you get.

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One Response to Maturity Means No Excuses

  1. Spot on! I recently wrote a 2000-word post on how I failed a project and what I learned from it… It can be a life-changing experience -but only if you allow yourself to see it.

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