The great enemy of success: excuses

It’s common for people to blame officials for their team losing a game.

It’s less common for people to blame officials for losing a game by 29 points. But I found myself in a conversation on Facebook recently with a person who was arguing that officiating cost Ohio State that game.

I say this not to belittle that particular person but it made me think of society and how we approach failure.

Many people struggle with pride and never take responsibility. The problem with that is if you never admit your own mistakes and your own contribution to your life situations, you’ll never be able to grow.

There’s always someone to blame: parents didn’t give enough support or meet other needs, teachers didn’t do a good enough job, boss wasn’t a good enough leader, politicians didn’t pass this law or that law.

Stop it!

No one has perfect parents, no one grew up with only great teachers, everyone has had bad bosses.

And even if you did have great parents, teachers, and bosses, you still have to work hard and push yourself to succeed. You can have the greatest people in the world around you but if you’re not working hard to cultivate what you have, it won’t matter.

Obviously some people are born in situations where they might have more opportunities. But it’s fruitless to complain about that because you can’t change that.

It’s life. We all have a cross to bear, we all have setbacks, we all have things happen to us that aren’t fair. Not saying it’s good. I’m saying it’s life. And you have a choice of if you’re going to overcome and work hard and grow or if you’re going to sit back and continue making excuses. We can resign ourselves to the unfairness of life and not try and complain about the breaks we didn’t have. Or we can take responsibility for our lives and actions and daily look for opportunities to grow, serve, and work hard.

And that’s not only true of professional pursuits. It’s also true of family life and our relationships. If you never admit you’re wrong or admit your mistakes, you won’t succeed relationally either.

You’re not an infallible person walking around a world where everyone else is screwing up around you.

No one has kept you from more accomplishments than you have. No one has done more to get in your way and to keep you from succeeding than you have.

We are imperfect. We make mistakes. We get things wrong. We sin. And that is on us. We have to learn to accept our failures otherwise we’ll never learn from them.

Own your mistakes. They’re part of life. But when we make mistakes, let us learn from them. Accept responsibility for what you didn’t do right. Failure is a great teacher (at least, it can be if you’re willing to learn).

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you think, and don’t forget to subscribe! 

Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.

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