Excuse-Making: Anyone Can Do It!

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excuse, excuses, qbq, personal accountability

Todd volunteers in an Alaskan prison. He believes in the QBQ! message of Personal Accountability so much he recently bought a slug of QBQ! books for the inmates he serves. Of course, I just had to ask what excuses he hears inside those imposing walls. His response? “I could write a book.” ?

Then, with no effort at all, he shared this list:

The system is prejudiced against me.

If my victim hadn’t resisted, I wouldn’t have hit him.

I was busted because cops don’t like me.

Everyone else is corrupt.

What I did isn’t any worse than what others do.

The laws are stupid.

My parents raised me wrong.

My Excuse Is Mom and Dad

Regarding that last excuse, Todd went on to share —

I run a Prison Fellowship program. Meeting with inmates, I begin each class with a reading from Proverbs. As many know, Proverbs is a great source of wisdom, regardless of your beliefs. This is not a Bible program — it’s a life program. The goal isn’t to make inmates better Christians, but to become better citizens. It’s open to people of any faith or no faith at all.

One day, we had a new guy join our group. That day’s lesson stated, “A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him.” As we discussed the chapter, this guy focused on that one verse, saying, “See, it’s my dad’s fault. My father is a disgrace, so I turned out foolish.”

I just kinda sat there, blinking in confusion. When I asked him to clarify, he said, “Well, if I’m getting into trouble and playing the fool, it’s because my dad is a disgrace who raised me wrong.”

So, the meaning of the content had become twisted for him. Could he not understand the teaching intellectually or did his mind reject all accountability for his actions? We don’t know. Todd said that after that day, the fella never returned to the group.

My Excuse Is The System

For many inmates, all of their problems are “systemic.” Todd frequently hears …

The cops didn’t follow proper procedures.

Someone mishandled the evidence.

My lawyer botched the case.

The judge was biased.

My family didn’t support me.

Others did their jobs wrong.

The bottom line, the system mistreats the committers of crimes. It’s not their fault, it’s other people’s fault — those who make up the system.

What About You and Me?

Criminals eschewing Personal Accountability while blaming the world isn’t new — or surprising. Yet, could this be a dramatic example of human nature? If the rest of us are not vigilant, we might think and/or say excuses like these:

I wasn’t promoted because of politics.

The boss doesn’t like me so I didn’t get a raise.

My marriage is suffering because my spouse isn’t trying.

Our son got into trouble because of his friends.

I have no time to exercise so I cannot lose weight.

Can you add to our list? Maybe one you’ve used yourself?

Thankfully, most of us are not inside a concrete-walled prison, but some would say the habit of conjuring up excuses is its own prison. Simply put, it’s near impossible to become our best, love life, serve humankind, find joy, and contribute to this world while committing the crime of excuse-making.

As you know, the better path is always Personal Accountability. ??

What one excuse must you stop making today? Share!

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3 Responses

  1. Absolutely John – I’ve had to the honour to follow you for many years now and never has it been more so to practice personal accountability and responsibility – Ultimately the only person you are in control of is yourself – I love this – And must re-listen and re-read to your book – It’s been too long! – thanks again Stephen, Dublin, Ireland

  2. “I’m too tired” is the excuse I find myself making most often. A product of my refusal to say “No” when asked to commit to someone else’s responsibility.

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