During my visit to London for the 2012 Summer Games I got inspired for a blog series. In the London Underground, “Mind the Gap” is the constant warning to “see and beware” of the space between the platform and the train door?literally a matter of life and death! ?Boarding my blog, however, this same phrase is a plea to consider the “valuable difference” between words or concepts that otherwise appear quite similar a difference that I hope empowers self and others!
What IS the difference, for example, between a Reason and an Excuse?
Do you give reasons or excuses for your actions? When it’s Reasons vs Excuses who do you think wins that battle? Let’s Mind the Gap: Reasons vs Excuses!
Reasons are intelligent explanations for how or why we do particular activities. When we have good reasons in place, we make ourselves accountable for our actions. When we are accountable for our actions, we become owners of the process, and are confident in the knowledge of what is working well, and where we can improve.
You can also think of reasons as motives. When we are motivated, we find good reasons to accomplish things.
Here’s an example of a reason for why something didn’t get done (We’ll go with the simple homework conundrum): I was doing so well on my video game last night that I lost track of time and didn’t do it.
The key ingredient in the example above is use of the pronouns “I” twice (and an implied third time) the term “I” was used. In this example the person not doing their homework, takes responsibility for it. Reasons are REAL!
Now let’s talk about excuses.
Excuses are an attempt to lessen the blame on yourself by attaching the fault to something or someone externally. Excuses are IMAGINED!
Here’s an example of an excuse for why something didn’t get done (We’ll stick with the homework conundrum): My dog ate my homework.
Notice the difference? In the “Reason” for why the homework didn’t get complete, there is no outside blame. In the “Excuse” for why the homework didn’t get complete, the dog was to blame. One person is willing to accept the consequences of their actions and, by definition, the other seeks to “excuse” oneself from the negative consequences of their actions.
Which one would YOU hire partner with invest in select, refer, endorse, befriend, or entrust?
Mind the Gap between Reasons and Excuses! Folks, we have to be accountable for our actions if we want more success in life.
Taking ownership of our choices and behavior will help us identify key areas for improvement. Being honest about the REAL reasons we do or do not take action makes us accountable and when we are accountable, we are able to accept ownership for our mistakes which is the only true way to GROW!
Instead of making excuses to avoid the “unwanted pains” of immediate consequences, seek to embrace the “growing pains” of learning from mistakes, bad choices and other shortcomings.
If you are lucky enough to have someone in your life that is willing to ask you WHY you did or did not do the things you need to do in order to succeed, please make sure you look within and answer with the REAL Reasons instead of IMAGINED Excuses!
To Your Success!
Jeffrey Klubeck, M.A.