The EXCUSE Commerce is truly big business. I hear business people all the time blaming someone else for what happens to them. I see productivity and creativity sacrificed at its altar every day. I see kids using it to justify poor decisions and moral choices. I see parents doing the same thing. I turn on the cable channels and see politicians using it to justify their totally immoral financial decisions. And I see it in the mirror when I realize I didn’t do what I Knew was the right thing to do. All of these sectors create a drag on achievement, self-determination, earned rewards and our ability to overcome challenges, the critical ingredients to true happiness and moral progress.
When you invest in the excuse economy, you divest in the personal growth economy. And you never solve the problem. Show me a master of excuses, and I will show you someone going nowhere fast and losing leadership every day. I understand that politicians may be the exception, but that’s for another time.
Self-help and leadership gurus have promoted taking responsibility for your life for years. Sounds easy; yet I know less than a handful of people who truly live this way. Most of us take partial responsibility, we claim our success. Few of us truly own All of our setbacks.
Full ownership is the key to truly creative and contagious progress. The few times I have owned my failures and setbacks, after the initial self-pity and mourning, I found a new level of clarity and creativity in my thinking and a new resolve in my next steps.
In a culture increasingly filled with Excuse Commerce, self-responsibility is a daily challenge. I find old habits die hard. I still have the “blame” thoughts or “finger pointing” reflex far too often. My self-awareness has helped me generate some strategies to overcome my excusities:
I say “That’s good” when I first receive bad news.
When I get defensive or sarcastic (a subtle excuse mechanism) , I ask out loud, “Why am I becoming defensive or sarcastic?”
I write down my successes and failures daily and ask,” What caused both and what would I do differently next time?”
When I catch myself thinking or worse speaking an excuse, I STOP and say out loud, “That was an excuse you just said Rick” and then SMILE.
I attempt to speak the truth in love. Lying is the appetizer at my excuse banquet. Honesty is daily payment that compounds in my self-ownership account. Excuses are the mortgage on my potential.
My goal for 2014 is to own 100% of it. If I can do that, then any other goal is within my reach. Just a question of when. I invite you to join me. If not, what’s YOUR excuse?:) Happy New Year!