Excuses Are Tools of the Weak and Incompetent

Posted on July 24, 2012


When I was in college I pledged a fraternity and during that process I learned about myself, what I’m capable of, and the strength that I have within. It opened up my eyes to the reality that limits are usually self-imposed and have no basis in reality. It showed me that we would not be here today if it weren’t for the hard work and sacrifices of those who came before us. To this day I look back to my pledge process to find the strength to forge ahead when every fiber in my being wants to stop. Because if I could go through one of the most challenging pledge processes in the country by myself, then there isn’t anything I can’t accomplish.

During my pledge process I was charged with memorizing a number of different quotes each designed to instill in me a positive characteristic that would help me in the future. One of the quotes that has stayed with me through all these years is one about excuses:

“Excuses are the tools of the weak and incompetent.  Used to build monuments of nothingness and bridges to nowhere.  Those who use them seldom excel in anything else but excuses”

Think about it for a second. How true is this for you?

In this one life that we have we have two choices. Either we do or we do not. For as much as we want to believe there’s a grey area, there isn’t. Excuses are tools used by those who are incapable of summoning their fortitude to carry them through the difficult times. Now, before going any further I need to say this – there’s a big difference between an excuse and a legitimate reason. Knowing how to discern between the two is kind of important.

“Excuses are the tools of the weak and incompetent.  Used to build monuments of nothingness and bridges to nowhere.  Those who use them seldom excel in anything else but excuses”

I remember when I first started working to earn money for myself. It was a work-study job in college that was easy breezy, so I never really took it or any other college job seriously until I started catering. It was only then that I came to understand what working hard was all about. And I loved it. I was hauling stacks of chairs, tables, plates, cups, silverware, and linens. I would sweat profusely, set up the party, then throw on my uniform and get to work. And when it was all over I’d break it down, head back to the warehouse, and then work till 5 or 6 in the morning. It was amazing.

Yes, some of you might read that and think I’m nuts. That’s fine. I don’t care what you think. I work hard and I love it. It gives me pride and satisfaction knowing that I outdid not only everyone else, but myself as well. Where others see limits I see opportunities. Which is why when I work with someone I hold them to the standards I hold myself to. If you work with me or for me and you show me that you love to use excuses then it won’t be long before I leave or let you go.

This is the only life that I get, as far as I know, and I have no intention of coasting until I find myself laying in bed at 70 years old wondering where it all went. I refuse to look back on my life and see nothing but time wasted in front of a computer or a tv. No, that’s not my life. I hold myself to a higher standard. Yes, I find myself surfing the couch once in a while. It’s great sometimes to do absolutely nothing. In fact, it’s necessary in order to balance everything out. But that’s not where I spend the majority of my time.

Excuses are what allow people to feel good about themselves when they know they didn’t give their best effort. It resolves the conflict they feel within themselves when they knowingly don’t give 100%. They say things like “it was an off day” or “my back was hurting” or “I’m not as smart”.


You can if you want to. No matter what it is, you can do it, and anything you tell yourself to the contrary is your failure mechanism at work. You see, we are all programmed to maintain the status quo. Change is a disruption in the normal pattern of life and the ego doesn’t much like change. The mind likes to keep things the same. This is why your attempts at making changes in your life are usually accompanied by self defeating behaviors. Then you struggle with the question of why. Why do I self-sabotage? It’s simple, because you don’t really want change. Period. If you really wanted it you would have anticipated and prepared for the disruption so that when it presented itself it wasn’t  a shock.

We make excuses to feel better. Point blank period. We know we can do better. There are no limits to what we can achieve but if we give in and give up knowing full well that we shouldn’t have, we’ll feel a conflict within. This conflict is guilt – the guilt of knowing we didn’t do our best. And since guilt doesn’t feel good we want to make that bad feeling go away, so we come up with excuses about why we didn’t give it our all.

Stop making excuses. If you keep lying to yourself eventually you’ll find yourself perched upon a rubble of lies looking back on your life wondering where it all went wrong.

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