The difference between a reason and an excuse has always been a bit confusing for me. After all, my life is all the proof you need that shit happens. If I weren’t allowed the reasons why things are the way they are, I’m not sure I’d have any lines of defense left. I’d have to just shrug and own up to my inability to be an adult. So when the people in my life come to me with their reasons, I generally have a lot of room for the whys that make a situation what it is. But that isn’t enough, is it? Because as much as they look like each other, reasons are acceptable and excuses aren’t.
So how do you tell the difference? I think I’ve found some markers:
- Excuses tie into patterns. One unsuccessful class has a reason. Ten years with no degree to show for it means you’re looking at excuses.
- Reasons come with responsibility. You can make choices with a reason. An excuse leaves you helpless and out of control.
- Reasons are impediments. Excuses are show-stoppers.
- Reasons let you fight smarter next time. Excuses let you give up.
Just in case anyone else was struggling with identifying the difference between the two.