How could Benjamin Franklin have been so smart about our world today? After all, didn’t he live over two hundred years ago. I’m referring today to this quote:
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
― Benjamin Franklin
How could Franklin have known that one of today’s most important “skills” is to carefully, quickly, and expertly offer an excuse for every failure to do what we said we would do or to explain our lack of effort to complete what was needed.
Let’s look at some examples:
- Does anyone else ever get tired of hearing, “I was just too busy” to do what I should have done? This excuse is often used when one fails to fulfill a basic expectation (such as parenting) or promise. An individual will always find time to do what they want to do.
- Have you heard this lately, “I would have gotten that done (or would have been there), but I had something else come up”? Sometimes, things do come up. However, most of the time, our failure to keep commitments is controllable. That is, we choose to do something else instead of fulfilling our commitment.
- Or this, “It really wasn’t my fault…”? Don’t you hate it when someone tries to pass the buck? There is much more integrity in accepting responsibility than throwing someone else under the bus.
Yes, it is necessary occasionally to offer an explanation for our situation. However, this can be done without acting as though you are a victim of circumstances or someone else’s failure. Explain what happened and offer thoughts on what you might have done to better anticipate or remediate the events.
A worthy goal for us all is to become bad excuse-makers. We should work to either more carefully monitor the commitments we make to better ensure success OR we should be more diligent in our efforts to avoid failure. In many ways, we can avoid the need for excuses by making smarter choices ahead of time. Becoming one that rarely has to offer an excuse should be something to which we aspire.
Finally, I appreciate what Roy Bennett had to say about the connection between maturity and excuse-making:
“Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses in your life; you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choice you’ve made and start making new choices to change your life.”
― Roy Bennett
Consider today how you can become “the world’s worst excuse-maker.” Consider how you can modify your choices to totally avoid the need for making an excuse.
Have a fabulous day! Do something today to make this a better day for someone else.