Made many excuses lately? How about excuses for making excuses?
It’s fine; I do it too. Blaming our problems on “something else”—i.e. excuse-making—is tempting. Addicting. Like drugs and alcohol, excuses make you feel good in the short-term. But in the long-term, they kill you.
I recently read the book Don’t Bullsh*t Yourself: Crush the Excuses that are Holding you Back. I’m sometimes ambivalent about self-help books. Luckily, author Jon Taffer isn’t your usual self-help guru. As the host of Paramount Network’s reality show “Bar Rescue”, in which he has saved several businesses struggling to survive, Taffer doesn’t extol the virtues of Buddhism or Taoism. You probably won’t find him meditating in Central Park with a headband on. Yet his tips are useful.
Like a splash of cold water, they’ll shock you into action.
Behind Taffer’s book is an observation he made while working to save failing bars: Although every bar had its own unique reasons for failing, there was a common thread. Excuses. Bar owners knew their businesses were failing. But they didn’t do anything about that failure. They were paralyzed. Why? Because an easier (but short-term) “solution” existed. Excuses.
As Taffer writes, excuses are toxic. They give you a false sense of security.
Excuses assure you that whatever is going wrong isn’t really your fault.
They’re the fault of something or someone else—society, your employees, your employer, your mom … whatever. By lending you a false sense of security, excuses make you feel better while making your life worse. Excuses are quick fixes, band-aids, but unlike band-aids, they don’t even staunch the bleeding. They just seem to help.
Taffer knows bullsh*t when he sees it. During his years as an entrepreneur and consultant, and especially during his years hosting “Bar Rescue”, Taffer witnessed the toxic results of bullsh*t. He also realized the vast variety of bullsh*t that people use to bullsh*t themselves.
He categorizes such bullsh*t into six different excuses: (1) fear, (2) knowledge, (3) time, (4) circumstances, (5) ego, and (6) scarcity.
While Taffer’s argument that excuses are at the root of almost every business and personal problem might be overbroad, the claim rings true. Just think of how much time you’ve wasted making excuses for your problems instead of taking hold of them, acknowledging them, staring into their faces, diving into them.
Jon Taffer’s right. Dive into your fears. Stop the bullshi*t.
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