“Screw your excuses.”
Does reading that make your blood boil a bit? Good. It’s healthy to have our buttons pushed every now and then.
It can help us snap out of all the automatic responses we re-enact on a daily basis: the routines, habits, and impulses that keep us trapped in the same patterns.
The problem with many people is that we are too good at coming up with excuses for why our lives are the way they are.
We don’t take responsibility for anything. We believe we act the way we do because that’s just who we are and how we grew up.
Instead of admitting when we make a mistake or when there’s a problem in our lives, we try to rationalize it.
This is the attitude of a defeated person. Someone who has given up on improving themselves and the world they live in.
Many times we come up with excuses to protect ourselves from cognitive dissonance. This is our tendency to ignore or underestimate information that goes against our beliefs.
(Check out why we ignore advice when we need it the most for more on why we avoid information we don’t like.)
So something bad happens in our lives, we believe it’s because of how we were born, or how people treat us, or how the world is conspiring against us.
Taking responsibility for our lives would mean having to change our worldview, so we think in elaborate ways to justify the current state of our lives and avoid change.
Don’t get me wrong, real excuses exist. If your legs are paralyzed it’s doubtful you’re going to make the NBA – that’s a real obstacle.
However, most of the excuses we come up with are bullshit. We fabricate them because are afraid to take any responsibility over our actions and choices.
Pay close attention to the excuses and rationalizations you make on a daily basis. Ask yourself, “Is this a real obstacle? Or is this just something I’m telling myself to avoid making a change in my life?”
Learn how to take responsibility for your life in The Science of Self Improvement.