the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 7 Reasons vs. Excuses

Posted by themirrenlee on 07/01/2012

Reasons.

Excuses.

For me, the difference between the two determines whether I am a loser or a winner.

I’ll bet if you thought about it, you would realize how many times you, or someone you know, uses an excuse for not doing something and calls it a reason.  The first example that springs to mind is anyone fighting an addiction.

“I can’t quit smoking because it’s a stressful time right now.”

“I can’t stop drinking because I hate my job and I need to relax.”

“I can’t stop overeating because I just got divorced and it comforts me.”

Then there are our goals:

“I can’t be an actor because I have a mortgage.”

“I can’t get fit right now because life is so busy.”

“I’d like to go to Paris, but I don’t have the money.”

How many of them sound like reasons to you, and how many sound like excuses?  Do you think it’s valid that a busy life is a reason for not getting fit, a mortgage prevents you from being an actor, and it’s impossible to ever get the money to go to Paris?  If you do, then you need to look at the excuses you’re making in your life while calling them reasons.

The truth is, of course, that motivation, commitment, courage, strength and determination conquer all excuses.  Just look at the ParaOlympics for an example of this. It’s also a matter of priorities.  If hanging out at a bar and spending all your money on drinking is your priority, then, yes, it will be harder to save for Paris!  You want to be an actor but have a mortgage?  So does that mean that all actors have to live on the streets instead of renting or buying a place to live?  Do only people without jobs and families get fit?

Yes, it’s easy to see the answers when I’m sounding silly about the excuses.  But that’s the thing – when you examine them, they ARE silly.  However, there’s nothing silly about how excuses can adversely affect not only your life, but that of the people around you.  Whether it’s your addictions or negative attitude about how you’re living your life, pain is the ultimate result for everyone.  Are your priorities your goals or your pain?

I almost didn’t write this blog today, even though I really wanted to finish my first week with a full 7 days, because I’ve been fighting a really nasty chest cold and felt like I just couldn’t do it.  Then I thought of all those people who overcome massive odds dealing with a life threatening illness (Christopher Hitchens comes to mind, writing more than ever all during his 18 month fight with esophageal cancer), or working 2 jobs to put food on the table, or battling crippling organic depression, and how they still manage to meet their commitments.

I decided that if I just got started – always the hardest thing to do, taking that first step – then it would write itself, as well as be a perfect example of the difference between a reason and an excuse.  Not doing it I would have used as my reason the fact that I don’t feel very well (a big difference than if I were actually on an operating table!).  Since it wasn’t a big enough reason, I realized that it was simply an excuse to avoid having to put in the effort.  Doing it makes me a winner rather than a loser in my writing efforts.

That’s the difference between a reason and an excuse.

How many times do you mistake the two?

I’m just wonderin’ …

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