By Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people
who have the habit of making excuses.
~ George Washington Carver
There never was and there never will be another person exactly like you. Your way of thinking, your appearance, you inherent talents and interests, your skills are like no other. You have untapped potential inside you yet to be discovered and released. As Og Mandino would say, you are “nature’s greatest miracle.” Are you living like the successful person you were born to be? That is, are you applying yourself to reach higher, do better, give your all, and be your best?
We can learn a great deal about how to do this by looking at people like George Washington Carver, an American scientist and inventor. He was born into slavery and experienced many hardships that could have kept him from fulfilling his potential. A childhood disease left him frail and unable to work on the fields. Instead, his interest in plants drove him to learn as much as he could about them. He was denied admission to a university because of his race, but that didn’t stop him. He kept trying and believing. He didn’t allow rejection, bitterness, or injustice to thwart his drive to be his best. Five years later, he got accepted to another college. Carver kept pushing himself to succeed. The potential inside of him would not lie dormant. Rather, he discovered it; and in the process, he revolutionized agricultural science. Today he is well known for his many contributions and discoveries of hundreds of uses for the peanut and other crops.
What makes one’s life a success story when there are so many good excuses to fall far below our potential, and so many good reasons to fail? According to George Washington Carver, the majority of failures come from “the habit of making excuses.” What was Carver’s excuse? He could have listed them! So what is our excuse?
Following are 6 common excuses for failure:
1. We fail when we are not true to ourselves. That is, we do not value our uniqueness and all that we have to offer. We may not realize the tremendous potential inside of us until we accept that we are special and loved. This above all, to thine own self be true. ~William Shakespeare
2. We fail when we feel sorry for ourselves. Self-pity keeps us from trying or believing we deserve better. We feel bad for ourselves and may even feel we are being punished when we fail. There is no failure except in no longer trying. ~Elbert Hubbard
3. We fail because a lack of effort. We have to work at whatever we want to accomplish. Most good things in life don’t just fall into our laps. We have to go after them. Applying effort might require us to learn something new or do things outside of our comfort zones. The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win. ~Roger Banniter
4. We fail because we complain. If things seem too difficult or unfair, we complain instead of accept the challenge and push ahead. We get negative and angry so we stop trying, and we blame others instead of taking responsibility. The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail. ~Napoleon Hill
5. We fail because we do not believe. We might lack confidence in ourselves and not believe we are capable of succeeding at something. Looking at the mountains of negative circumstances will also keep our eyes fixed on the problem and off the possibilities for success. All things are possible to him that believes. ~Mark 9:23
6. We fail because we quit. This is the greatest failure of all. When we lose our hope, we want to quit. We start to think nothing can or will work out for us or get any better. This is an attitude of defeat that keeps us from picking ourselves back up and persisting until things turn around. There is no failure except in no longer trying ~Elbert Hubbard
Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you? Has the habit of making excuses kept you from living a successful and fulfilling life? Only you can make the decision to be the successful person you were born to be. Only you can decide to change bad habits of defeat into good habits of success. No one can do it for you. It’s up to you to take command of your life and begin believing the truth about who you are and your unlimited potential to succeed!
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure. ~Abraham Lincoln