Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

Excel at Excuses – Fail at Life

May 16, 2021

by Robert Stevenson

I once read, “excuses are the lies you tell yourself.” That is a powerful statement. It is important to understand that great leaders never expect results from those who give excuses. They will go find someone else to get the job done. So, if you are looking for a great excuse to explain why you didn’t accomplish something, remember this rule: those who excel at excuses seldom excel at anything else. Great leaders are well aware of that rule. I find people who are good at making excuses, are seldom good at reaching goals, solving problems, and leading people. I am tired of people who say…

To me, an excuse is a form of weakness or inability to take responsibility for your own mistakes. Excuses usually show a weakness in your plan, or your attitude, your conviction, ability, knowledge, judgment, talent, or organizational skills.

If these excuses don’t work for you, I should note, there are several books of excuses. There is Garfield's Book of Excellent Excuses, Excuses for Dummies, The Little Book of Big Excuses, The Book of Big Excuses, Complete Excuses Handbook, and my favorite title...1,001 Excuses for How to Get Out of and Away with Anything.

Please understand, excuses may make you feel better, but they change nothing and usually annoy the people you are telling them to. I have found that successful leaders … when something bad happens, a mistake is made, a goal isn’t reached … would rather you tell them what happen, what you learned and what you are going to do about it, than give them an excuse. If you are always on the lookout for a great excuse, you better also be on the lookout for a new job.

I think it is safe to say that most people are not a fan of excuses, nor a fan of people who are ALWAYS giving excuses. That statement alone should make us all take notice that it is a waste of time to search for an excuse. Excuses do nothing but make you look bad to whomever you are giving the excuse to and, they most often are annoying. Ben Franklin put it this way when discussing excuses: “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” OUCH! I have compiled a list of short quotes about excuses that should make us all think twice before ever giving one.

Excuses are for losers.
Winners find a way. Losers find an excuse.
You can have results or excuses ... Not both.
Excuses are for people who don't want it bad enough.
If it is important you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.
99% of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.

The great baseball player Derek Jeter had a unique way of looking at excuses. He stated, "There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you.”

We need to understand that maturity comes when we stop making excuses and start making changes. Let’s get hardcore: Excuses are useless. Results are priceless. Here is a simple way to deal with excuses: Never do anything you will have to give an excuse for later. I would like to end with this one last thought on excuses.

If you quit looking for an excuse –
you will have more time to find a solution.

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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