Any excuse for non-performance, however valid, softens the character. It is a sedative against one’s own conscience. When a man uses an excuse, he attempts to convince both himself and others that unsatisfactory performance is somehow acceptable. He is – perhaps unconsciously – attempting to divert attention from performance; the only thing that counts is his own want for sympathy. The user is dishonest with himself as well as with others. No matter how good or how valid, the excuse never changes performance.
The world measures success in terms of performance alone. No man is remembered in history for what he would have accomplished. History never asks how hard it was to do the job, nor considers the obstacles that had to be overcome. It counts only one thing – performance. No man ever performed a worthwhile task without consciously ignoring many a plausible excuse.
To use an excuse is a habit. We cannot have both the performance habit and the excuse habit. We all have a supply of excuses. The more we use them the lower become our standards, the poorer our performance. The better we perform, the less plausible our excuses become.
Next time you want to defend your sub-par performance, say instead (at least to yourself):
Notice the startling effect this will have on your own self-respect. You will have recognized your failure. You will have been honest with yourself. You will be one step closer to the performance habit. You will be a better man for it. “We will be a better team!”