Michael MacDonald

Reasons, Not Excuses

In Personal on December 31, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Earlier this year a friend was considering going to Japan for a conference but he was saying things like “but I couldn’t” and “I can’t afford it”. He was talking himself out of it. I simply said, “focus on reasons not excuses”.

Too often you are your own worst enemy. Don’t be a scrooge. Don’t be a killjoy. When you find yourself deliberating over something, ignore your “excuses” and weigh up the reasons. The excuses are your immediate, negative knee-jerk reactions that have no substance. Identify the real reasons why you can and can’t do something. Make your decisions based on these instead.

Here are some common “excuses” and how you can turn them into reasons:

  • “I can’t afford it” – ascertain the costs involved and check your bank balance. Can you borrow some money? Can you work extra hours to save up?
  • “I couldn’t possibly spend that much money on myself” – how much is too much? what’s your limit? will it be worth it?
  • “It’s probably sold out” – check it!
  • “My wife won’t let me” – don’t assume, ask your wife
  • “I won’t be able to get time off work” – ask your boss
  • “I’ll do it next year” – do you really think you’ll be in a better position next year? The opportunity may not exist next year.
  • “I can’t do it right now” – why not? really? is what you’re currently doing really more important?

In the end, my friend went to RubyKaigi in Japan and had a ball! So, what’s your excuse?


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